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A tasteful step into the future

By: Reading Time: 3 Minutes

These are the times. Nobody knows what it will be like tomorrow, let alone the day after tomorrow. It is futile to ask what gastronomy will look like in the next few decades, what we should get ready for and how we can profit from it. Is this really true?

Now more than ever! This could be the catchphrase for the captivating lecture that Sascha Barby gave on day two of the virtual HolyTisch-Gastro conference, which left the audience in awe and got them thinking. “Grab the Bull by the Horn,” was the title of this exciting trip into the future, in which the Senior Director of Global Culinary Experts at Rational AG described the upheavals in the world of gastronomy, as well as the opportunities that are opening up for those who know how to play the game.

The legendary Y and Z generations are now setting the standards, generations Sascha Barby describes as “Me, myself and I.” Aren’t they only working to support their free time? There’s more to it than this! But let’s move past these stereotypes. After all, these young people are definitely calling for social and political changes, especially those that we have not yet effectively tackled – and they are also critical towards the food industry. Currently, they still tend to take a passive stance, but that will soon change. “They should not be called selfish,” because the opposite is actually the case, Barby stresses. Individuality is the magic word of the future. In other words, it will be crucial to provide guests with individual options that combine enjoyment, health and sustainability. Today, a wide range of ingredients is already available to excite the new generation.

Above all, the focus is on meatless food, and with it the trend product par excellence. This includes Beyond Meat substitute creations as well as the plant-based shrimp made by the start-up Happy Ocean Foods, which is committed to protecting the world’s oceans. This may still be niche, but it appeals to today’s customers and will soon be part of the selfsame new normal as the rapidly expanding range of plant-based milk, which is already commonplace in many locations and has long since moved past being a niche product. There is a concrete reason why plants are so highly valued. Global beef production is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the USA, according to a study Sascha Barby cites. Therefore, this is a real problem that needs to be resolved.

vegan fish, beyond meat food service future

Image: HolyTisch

But food is one thing. Another important aspect is a thorough overhaul of furnishings and processes to meet the demands of Generation Y/Z – and this means employees as well as guests. New concepts for life and work are popping up. Hats off to the restaurateurs who have cleverly responded with customized offers! Increasing digitization is also an important tool for dividing up and individualizing data, especially since the next generation is perfectly willing to share their data as long as they get something out of it and they retain the rights to the data –keyword data ownership.

So where do we go from here? The motto for the second half of the decade is “I help you to help me,” as Sascha Barby explains. Consumers have a greater sense of awareness. They still expect solutions from companies, above all complete transparency in terms of origin and production conditions. They are also playing an increasingly active role. At the same time, solidarity and independence are increasing and with them alternative forms of living, which are partially replacing the family. The working world is also undergoing radical change. There are fewer permanent positions, more independence and an increasing number of people who are working several jobs at once. Customization in the gastronomy sector is also continuing to advance. However, loneliness is also on the rise alongside these new ways of living and it is becoming a serious epidemiological problem, Barby points out. This also creates new and important tasks for the gastronomy industry. Large community tables, rooms for interacting, guests as substitute families, low-threshold  opportunities to get together and network – there are many ways to address this important social issue.

Food is also undergoing a radical change. Mass-produced beef? Totally out. Instead, beef can be a rare treat, once a month perhaps, but then at its finest and best quality and enjoyed without a guilty conscience. Meat is therefore restored to the value it has earned.

If we take a look at 2030, the shift becomes even clearer. The working world is no longer bound to the traditional office; digitalization is increasingly blurring the line between the real me and the persona portrayed in social media. Robots and automation are replacing an increasing number of jobs, including in gastronomy, which means new forms of employment must be sought. In the meantime, it has also become increasingly difficult to find qualified workers. Now is the time to conquer new markets with creative ideas and services! “We must be willing to become leaders of innovation. Guests expect this,” says Barby and gives the example of restaurants with vertical gardens, canteens that serve food for the entire family and create a social space, but also blur the boundaries between work and private life. Even if it sounds paradoxical with regard to progressive individualization, large QSR and food service providers will increasingly move into the private sector. KFC is a bizarre example of this; they have already raffled off complete KFC themed-weddings as a test.

However, the single greatest driver of ideas is climate change –and this will remain the case for decades to come. The fight to counter this unites people and demands changes be made. The declining meat consumption is only one example of many. “We need to stay open,” says Barby. “It will not be easy, it will be a painful process and some industries will suffer. However, we should see it as an opportunity rather than a threat. It will drive us even further forward!”

HolyTisch Convention Hub: Here you can access to all the convention materials for free. 

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