01 October 2018

Dear Chef, how will the future be?

Knud Erik Larsen

In this article I will try to look a little bit in the future, I think it could be interesting to start with a small look at how our everyday life might take place in 10 years. Trend researchers are working with this, and among food manufactures it is also slowly becoming popular to work with the future food, scenarios in product development.


Future scenarios

By 2025-2030, only those age 40 or over in private household can still cook, the younger generation has completely surrender to the convenience food, food is consumed on the go at all times of the day. The sale of ready meals or meals solutions, as they are called, have never been greater. In addition, there are many web caterers where you can order a ready-made meal online, which is available on the way home from work. The consumer is hungry for news and what the story behind the product, buying food must be an experience, the supermarket has many small delicatessen.

Relationship such as animal welfare, food safety, ecology and the environment are something that interest the consumers a lot, nevertheless, it is quite normal and accepted that the certain foods are enriched with additional vitamins and minerals, as a kind of facion reaction to the convenience culture, households and chef schools have had a new renaissance.

Some of you will consider my future scenario with horror, while other will see new exciting options, nevertheless, it seems that many of the described scenarios seem to be more or less to be a reality. You all know and see that the consumption of ready meals is upgoing, and I am not talking about fast food, and there is always new development in the area, online trading becomes more and more popular.


The fast and easy

The trend is towards a day where the quick and easy solutions are preferred, a mentality that not only confines itself to what we put in our mouth, but gradually permeates the whole community, products that can be consumed here and now and on the go are becoming more and more popular in certain part of the world. It stands daily for fast food such as pizza, burgers and much more, especially among the younger generation, and that’s too bad, they get an unnatural relationship with food and never learn to cook an exciting, tasteful and not least nutritious meal for them self and their family. I`m going to think about the next generation of children where will their interest in cooking come from? Today it is primarily from the home, as I have been lucky to have grandparents and parents who love to eat and cook, there skills is infected in me, that’s why I am sad and amazed to see where the down-priority home time lessons are in schools today, it is an area that deserves much more attention, learning the children with good cooking experience gives them an extra dimension that they can enjoy the rest of their lives, in Denmark Arla Food make summer schools for children, with helps from chefs, maybe, we chefs should be more active, and not only have chefs day once a year.


The new food

Looking at the development of new foods, the trend is and have been for some time, clearly evident towards more convenience, this can be assured like the big food events around the world such as SIAL in Paris and many more, the theme is strongly dominated by products belonging to this category, examples of convenience are finished dressing and sauces, frozen vegetables and of course ready meals, and also diner solutions, this is the future rapid development and only in 1999 was 14% of all new introductions that could be described as convenience, this figure has only increased since.


The fantasy does not matter

The new dishes are characterized by ethnic recipes, greater variety and originality, the producers have realized that they can conquer new segment, namely the discerning and quality conscious consumers who had not much left for ready meals before, they are now lured with dishes that often take it starting point in, Indian, Italian or also good old-fashioned Danish and German recipes, depending on what`s up in time. There are also a larger offering, more to choose from, all this have a positive effects on the sales, in England, where there is a larger market for ready meals, there are often famous chefs who stand behind the recipes, their counterfeit adorns the packaging and beyond the marketing value contained herein, it can further perceived as a guarantee of product quality, or can it?



More product development

Should I lift a critical finger for ready meals, it concerns the sensory and nutritional properties of the products, in order to take the last one, a diet consisting mainly of various whole and semi manufactured foods and fast food is easily very dull and monotonous, in addition, it is fat and is often poor on the vital nutrients that would otherwise be taken care of by a varied diet. Not exactly what is recommended from official team! At the same time, taste and texture often leave much to be desired, the solution is more product development, I would argue that it is possible to produce ready meals with a certain nutritional value that actually taste of something while presenting themselves well on a plate, the eye is measured before the stomach, as you say.

At the same time, experiments could be made with new heat and packing treatments method, such as sous-vide to ensure that as many nutrients as possible are preserved the finished product.


Where is the ecology?

An area that really needs a heavy boost is organic products, if the ecology needs a chance in the future, it’s important that you start product development something more in the field, organic farmers should organize and set up some development centres from which will bring the ecology products strongly in front line. There is a great almost untapped potential in organic ready meals, but it also applies to the unprocessed products. If the products should be able to meet the additional price, one should also expect a better quality.


Greater demands on the industry

The picture of future consumption and meat patterns may appear somewhat complex and diffuse, perhaps due to the fact that people get less time, or you choose to prioritize differently with the time you have, perhaps it is because we as consumers are not able to overlook all the opportunities and offers that meet us every day?

Or we also jump into the other ditch and become more discerning and quality conscious, we do not want to eat anything.

Finally, I cannot help asking whether there should be greater demands on food producers and the quality of the products they deliver? Should you continue to feel like a consumer when you have paid overpriced for a product that is not really worth it?

Or maybe, I hope so just keep cooking in your household, cook and eat together in the family, let the tradition live for many generations.

What is your opinion?


Best regards
Knud Erik Larsen


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