The UK’s lockdown has forced us to change the way we shop, cook and eat. With supermarket shortages, restaurant closures and more time at home, many people’s relationship with food has had a dramatic makeover. From sourdough to fakeaways via whipped coffee and focaccia-based works of art, we’ve noticed a huge number of food trends throughout this period – but which of these are fads, and which will last?
We delve into ten of the biggest food and drink trends from the past three months, looking at how they’ve shaped – and will continue to shape – the way we think about food.
10 food & drink trends that will last beyond lockdown
1. Home happy hour
No bars and pubs? No problem. Being in lockdown certainly hasn’t stopped us from getting our booze fix – a huge number of us have turned our hands to mixology and even home-brewing. Online searches for cocktail recipes have skyrocketed, helped along by a glorious bout of sunshine. In fact, searches for ‘frozen cocktail recipes’, ‘strawberry daiquiri recipes’ and ‘sangria recipes’, as well as ‘how to make cider at home’ all grew by over 5000 per cent.
When this is all over, we might not be drinking ‘quarantinis’, but we’ll definitely still be making cocktails. After all, we can’t let that new cocktail shaker and well-stocked booze cabinet go to waste – garden cocktail parties here we come!
2. Online shopping
Three cheers for the world wide web! Where would be without it?! Throughout lockdown, many of us had to switch to online for our food shopping needs. And as supermarket deliveries were overwhelmed, we started to think outside the box (or perhaps more accurately, all about the box!). Searches for ‘veg box deliveries’, ‘food subscription boxes’ and ‘wine box deliveries’ rose dramatically. And, proving that some British traditions never die, the search term ‘afternoon tea delivery’ increased by a massive 2450 per cent, too.
From fruit, veg and wine, to charcuterie, cheese, coffee and cakes, we’ve had our eyes opened to the array of high-quality food and drink that can be ordered online. Plus, in the case of fruit & veg boxes, it can often even be better value than buying in supermarkets, not to mention usually a more sustainable option as produce usually comes loose in a cardboard box, rather than wrapped in plastic. When shopping is this easy, safe, convenient and good quality, why would we stop?
3. Baking the internet
Throughout the past three months, our social media feeds have been flooded with images of beautiful banana breads, flapjacks, cookies, cakes, cinnamon buns, scones and homemade bread, while page views for these recipes on bbcgoodfood.com have been through the roof.
For many, it was down to having more time on our hands to get stuck into a new (or in some cases, old but forgotten) hobby. Not for everyone – some baked to give back to others, whipping up treats for key workers and vulnerable family members, others turned to baking as a means of therapy and stress-relief – nothing calms the mind like the mixing, kneading and rolling of dough!
Ask anyone on the Good Food team and they’ll tell you that once you’ve got the baking bug, it’s hard to stop. Especially when you realise how easy it can be to rustle up a treat. Some of our most popular baking recipes have been our easiest – these three-ingredient peanut butter cookies and simple storecupboard chocolate fudge crinkle biscuits have gone down a storm!
4. Living la vida local
Whether we popped into the corner shop, made use of our local butcher, fishmonger or bakery, or found a nearby farm to deliver milk or fruit and veg, we’ve supported the small, independent food businesses that need us the most.
Long may this continue – the benefits are boundless. By shopping locally, we’re boosting the local economy, supporting small businesses and heightening the feeling of community in our area, plus food miles are usually lower (in the case of farm deliveries, fishmongers, butchers etc), as is our carbon footprint (in comparison to driving to a big supermarket).
Restaurants and takeaways closing haven’t stopped our Friday night cravings. We needed a new way to get our fix, so turned to the internet for recipes we could recreate at home. There was a mammoth rise in online searches for takeaway favourites like ‘pizza dough recipe no yeast’ (up by 900 per cent), ‘homemade sweet and sour sauce’ (up 120 per cent), ‘chicken katsu curry’ (up 300 per cent) and, by far the most popular, ‘how to make southern fried chicken’ (up by over 5000 per cent)!
While some of us are already switching back to takeaways, others have come around to the benefits of homemade. We’ve spotted tonnes of people in our BBC Good Food Together Facebook group making katsu curry and homemade pizza fakeaways and reporting that, not only are they surprisingly easy to make, the results are just as good as the restaurant version – not to mention often healthier.
6. Recipe freestyling
So, you didn’t have the vinegar a recipe called for and used the brine from a jar of pickles instead – and it worked! Even the purists amongst us learned to relax and go with what we had, happily making swaps and substitutes when ingredients were hard to come by, and making some pretty good discoveries along the way.
In fact, it’s this kind of make-do mentality which breeds some of the most delicious new culinary inventions. We’re all for it!
7. Sourdough satisfaction
Did you get caught up in sourdough fever? We definitely did. Our ‘how to make sourdough bread’ recipe rose a whopping 1690 per cent in views in the last three months, while online searches for ‘sourdough starter’, ‘sourdough pizza’, and ‘sourdough discard’ were huge.
Why? Because there’s nothing better than a warm, crusty loaf, fresh from the oven. Not just for that hypnotising smell, but for the fact that it somehow tastes so much better knowing you’ve created and nurtured a starter, kneaded and proved the dough and made a glorious, rustic loaf from scratch. And for a fraction of the cost of buying a sourdough loaf at your local bakery!
It’s a labour of love, but trust us when we say that once you’ve done it, you’ll want to do it again and again. After all, you’ve got a sourdough starter, you’re halfway there!
8. Celebrating seasonality
There once was a time when we only ate food that was in season. A time before we could access any ingredient, at any time of year. For many of us, this way of eating, as nature intended, is making a comeback thanks to the lockdown.
Not only are we ordering more fruit and veg boxes, we’re also growing more of our own produce. Searches for ‘veg box delivery’ have increased by 3150 per cent, while ‘how to grow strawberry plants’, ‘how to grow cherry tomatoes’, ‘how to grow peppers from seeds’ and ‘how to grow potatoes at home’ were searched over 5000 per cent more in the past three months. Plus, as we got out into the local woods and green areas for our daily walks, searches for recipes using wild-growing, seasonal ingredients like nettles and wild garlic in March and April, and elderflower in May and June, were much higher this year than last.
9. The war on waste
One of the most positive cooking habits to gain momentum during this time is a reduction of food waste. With ingredients harder to come by, we’re making more effort to use up every scrap. According to a poll by Hubbub looking at how Covid-19 has affected our eating habits, 48 per cent of people asked said they are throwing away less food. Online searches for how to freeze certain foods including chopped onions, milk, yeast, and fresh fruit and vegetables all rose by over 5000 per cent. Plus, we’ve been getting more inventive with our leftovers, with many of us searching for recipes to use up leftover lamb, potatoes, bananas, egg whites and bread.
Equipped with the knowledge of how many everyday ingredients can be frozen and the array of dishes we can make with leftovers, there’s no excuse for wasting so much food in the future.
10. Upping our skills
We’re not just cooking more at the moment; we’re turning into chefs! More time at home means more time to sharpen our skills in the kitchen. Some of us used the time to boss basic skills like mastering the perfect French fries or chewy chocolate chips cookies, while others got stuck into foodie projects we might previously have thought of as too ‘cheffy’ to attempt at home – think learning how to make homemade pasta or how to ice a drip cake. People are also delving into home-brewing – you wouldn’t believe how many online searches we spotted for making beer and cider at home!
So now you’ve dusted off your old pasta machine (or fashioned a rolling pin out of an old wine bottle!), ordered yourself an ice cream maker or home-brewing kit, or just donned your apron for the first time in months, let’s keep the momentum going. Watch out, Tom Kerridge, we’re coming for your job!
Inspired by these trends? Get stuck in
Which of these trends did you take up and which will you continue? Comment below…