Indian, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, French, Spanish, Mexican… in the UK we are real lovers of international cuisines, the one food trend which never slows. So much so, some popular international dishes have been adopted as ‘traditional’ British dishes.
Every year, several new international food trends emerge – and this year has been no different. We’ve seen the rise in popularity of health-inspired dishes from two new cuisines – our neighbours in the Nordics, and our distant commonwealth cousins in Australia.
Our Nordic neighbours ooze coolness in their subtle ability to live in the contemporary age so very well, and we can’t get enough of this, in a trend which goes beyond food. From the Norwegian fjords to ABBA, and everything in between – chic and impressive living designs from IKEA to a thriving heavy metal music scene – the Nordic culture is fascinating in a way which is close to yet at the same time completely unlike our own. With rich Viking heritage and magical troll mythology, the Nordic region often triumph in the annual Eurovision song contest and have the perfect backdrop for snow sports and an Ingmar Bergman film. The Nordics even have a concept called Hygge (pronounced “hoo-gah”) to describe their cosy and comfortable way of living.
Australia, Britain’s commonwealth cousin, has an equally effortless laid-back mindset. The country has a beautiful terrain and wildlife from the great barrier reef, Gold Coast beaches, kangaroos and koalas and many who travel there often return wanting to continue the holistic lifestyle. As a commonwealth nation, Australia share our language, our driving rules, and our love for cricket – as well as of course a love of great food.
In regard to food, Australia and the Nordic region continue to have a different approach to food.
Australia has a wealth of locations in which to source their foods from. Just a few of their produce include wines from Adelaide, beef from Pilbara and luscious fruits such as mangos, pineapple, avocados and seafood in tropical Queensland. As the home of the BBQ get-together, we cannot forget iconic foods such as Vegemite, Tim Tams, pavlova, Fosters, meat pies and allegedly the origin of avocado on toast and the flat white coffee (fought between Australia and New Zealand). Australia food culture has been shaped by the influx of those who have migrated there, especially Asian influences, making the country’s cuisine particularly unique. Masterchef’s judge, John Torode, has helped introduce Australasian food to the UK since his arrival in the 1990s.
The Nordic countries have a cuisine which is celebrated alongside the Mediterranean diet for being extremely healthy due to longstanding traditions and attitudes towards nutritious foods. Ingredients are sourced from an environment that cares about the conditions the foods are grown in, including berries, fish and oats. The fermenting and smoking of foods is how the Nordics preserve their foods whilst maintaining quality taste. Nordic dishes are usually unprocessed, low in salt and are often based around superfoods.
Australia’s food cuisine is slowly migrating its way into British culture. London is already home to a number of Australian restaurants and cafes which pride themselves in colourful healthy dishes and drinks. Most recently The Farm Girl cafe sell speciality rose and lavender lattes and bright blue butterfly matcha drinks. Furthermore, Antipodea is a brasserie selling flat whites and long blacks and has been able to create the stylish Melbourne atmosphere under their own roof based in Kew, Putney and Richmond. Both share very Instagram-worthy interiors likely to spread across Britain other parts of Britain for millennials to enjoy, both in looks and taste.
The Nordics share the spotlight for emerging onto the UK health table with a unique edge. Not only are Nordic food products already being sold in the UK, they also specialise in the free-from category, such as lactose, gluten, wheat and dairy-free. This category is hugely popular in Britain, and in 2017 it was estimated over fifty percent of households buy a product from this food category (BBC); Swedish brand Oatly quickly overcame the initial resistance the UK had to this new milk alternative by excellent marketing and reassuring its taste to consumers. Nordic snacks are also attractive to Brits as they are innovative in being fibre and protein-rich.
There is a great opportunity for both of these regions of the world to continue to make an impact on UK cuisine because British people are transforming their attitudes to a more holistic, organically sourced food menu which both Australia and the Nordic countries hold in their food manifestos. The end result of Brexit, 200 days away, could allow Britain to feel much closer to Australia and more aligned with the Nordic lifestyle as trade will enable Briton’s to adopt their neighbour’s food palette more easily. If the UK joins the Trans-Pacific Partnership, it will be the only member not to have a border on the Pacific Ocean or South China Sea.
So who is the most influential as a British food NPD? Both nations are equally deserving of the crown for influencing food trends in the UK. Even more so, both Nordic and Aussie cuisines present themselves as valuable role models to the British menu and time will tell which of these areas of the world will impact the UK food market the fastest. Organic and unprocessed food products from Australia and the Nordic regions are no doubt going to have a place on supermarket shelves in the near future.
Have you got a Nordic or Aussie-inspired product you’d like to launch? Contact Hamish at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us on +44 (0) 1803 203387.