The new food trends
Trends on the plate: sustainable food, homemade food, but also “ultra-local” products are becoming important. Street food events and food trucks conquer Germany.
Ever made sausages yourself? Or tasted low-carb pasta made out of chickpeas, peas and lentils? Or cooked with carrot greens? If you can answer these questions with a “yes”, you’re in the vanguard of current food trends.
A very creative food scene
After India, Israel, Taiwan and Italy, Germany ranks fifth among the world’s countries with the highest share of vegetarians. Mainly out of conviction, they forego the consumption of animal products and use numerous alternative foods such as lupine and oyster mushrooms instead of meat. In 2015 one in ten people in Germany ate vegetarian and one in a hundred vegan – that is, not only meatless but also completely without milk or egg products.
Sustainable, morally conscious food, also called spiritual food, is gaining momentum. This includes the trend to complete use. The goal is to eat from “root to leaf”, that is to say, all the parts of a vegetable or fruit that usually land in the waste, such as carrot greens, water melon peel or bean leaves.
More and more cooks are also following the “nose to tail” trend for fish and meat. The top chef, caterer and meat expert Ludwig Maurer, for example, offers “nose to tail” academies in which participants learn to butcher an animal and use it completely. For Mauer, this is a sign of respect for living creatures, evincing a responsible handling of food. The food trend harbours another: homemade food. If you produce something yourself, you know for certain what it contains. Many people already produce relatively simple foods such as butter, broth and almond milk in their own kitchens.
Vogue for the ultra-local
In response to globalization and the industrializing of food production, many consumers long for naturalness and authenticity – and reach for regional products. The motto is, the closer the product grows to the cooking pot, the better. According to “Food Report 2017” of the Future institute, one of the most influential think tanks for European trends and future research, the preference for regional food is currently growing significantly. This then means hyper or ultra-locality. The Berlin start-up INFARM , for example, uses the supermarket directly as cropland for its products.
Video: Kräuter Garten by INFARM
Street food in Germany
Not only in Asia has eating food in the street – “street food” – a long tradition. In Regensburg of the twelfth century, for example, the “Cookshop at the Crane” provided builders working on the cathedral with boiled meat. Today there stands on the same site the “Historical Sausage Kitchen”, perhaps the oldest snack bar in the world. “Drei im Weggla”, three Nuremberg sausages in buns, is among the oldest German street food.
The street food of today, however, is about more than gobbling a bratwurst in standing. The current revival of the age-old street movement comes from the United States. Especially the food truck scene in the New York metropolitan area has led the way in what, since 2013, several thousand guests a week can also experience at “Street Food Thursday” in the Markthalle Neun in Berlin-Kreuzberg, the Hamburg “Street Food Sessions” and the Cologne “Street Food Festival”: uncomplicated but high-quality food in public spaces. A simple food stand with a cook shop guarantees the cook freedom, mobility and independence. And simple dishes guarantee guests regional ingredients and careful handiwork. Such as bánh Mì from Vietnam, a baguette of wheat and rice flour with pan-fried meat, vegetables and coriander. Or gua baos, a Taiwanese variant of the hamburger. And Käsespätzle (cheese noodles) are also celebrated as well as fourteen-hour smoked pork.
Focus on conscious enjoyment and communication
Street food events, however, are not about only what gets eaten but also how it gets eaten. Sandwich factories, soup kitchens and regional burger shops have existed in large German cities since the 2000s. But unlike the sandwiches-to-go mentality of the past, street food is consumed not only in order to down the most efficient possible lunch or to fill yourself up quickly on the way from point A to point B. The focus is on conscious enjoyment. Also on communication during and about eating, which is why many street food markets remain open till evening. They then function like a bar or a restaurant. Only much more democratic, because here neither dress code nor big money plays a role. In the street only your gut feeling counts.
Video: The Rise of Street Food
Community group about food and drinks
Which local and seasonal specialties are there in your country, which dishes are favoured in everyday life? Which dishes and drinks did you get to know in Germany, which do you like best? Share typical or favourite recipes with the other Alumni in the Community group about food and drinks (“Essen und Trinken”).