by Weber Shandwick

Survey announces top food trends for the coming year

Food Forward 2012 examines top food stories and emerging trends in Australian kitchens.  For more information contact the Consumer & Lifestyle team.

Sydney, Australia: South American flavour combinations, Thermomixing and sous vide are predicted to be some of the biggest upcoming food trends in Australia, according to Weber Shandwick’s inaugural food trend report, Food Forward 2012¹.

Food Forward 2012 reveals the sentiment about Australian food culture of more than 1,000 consumers and leading taste-makers from around the country including food editors, chefs, food bloggers and nutritionists.

From nominating the top food news story of the year, to culinary trends that will hit our shelves in the coming year, survey participants were asked to share their insights and predictions about the food culture of Australia. The top insights revealed trend clusters – commonalities between individual trends – which are predicted to shape the 2012 food culture of Australia. These are:

Gourmet Convenience

Innovative food products and quality foodstuffs are making gourmet-style meals more achievable than ever – and without the hassle.  By using semi-homemade culinary masterpieces, even the most time-pressed cooks can still be stars in their own kitchens.

Global Flavour Combinations

Home cooks will take a more borderless approach to food preparation in 2012.  Aussie kitchens will trend toward a cooking style that combines ethnic flavours and ingredients from around the world. In the coming year, global flavour pairings from the Americas and Korea, in particular, will explore unexpected combinations and unique regional cuisines.

Farm to Fork

Aussie consumers want to understand the journey food has taken, from the farm to their forks. Whether it’s a bunch of bananas or a hamburger, it is more important than ever to understand where food comes from, how it’s made and whether the flavour is natural or manufactured.

Culinary Crusading

From sustainable products to good purpose brand initiatives, food purchases are now based on more than just good taste. Activism is now expressed through food choices, and with this comes an expectation that brands or retailers are doing the most they can for the community.

As part of the survey, Australians were asked to choose the most significant food story of 2011, and nominated the impact of the milk wars between Woolworths and Coles as number one. Results revealed the following as the three biggest food-related stories of 2011:

 Milk will spill in supermarket war, The Australian, 26 January 2011

The impact of the milk wars between supermarket giants, Woolworths, Coles and Aldi, resulted in heightened concern about the impact of the price wars on local farmers, with one in four (26%) voting for this as the top food story of 2011.

McDonald’s loses Heart Foundation tick of approval, SMH, 21 September 2011

Coming in close second was the Heart Foundation’s decision to remove its Tick licensing program from various takeaway food outlets, including McDonald’s and Crust pizza. One in five (22%) Australians voted for this as the top story of 2011.

Earthquake reignites food security debate,, 15 March 2011

Third place was given to concerns about global food security, following various natural disasters in Japan and Australia. One in six (16%) Australians voted for this as the top story of 2011.

Participating taste-makers were also asked to nominate emerging products, flavours and techniques that would find a place on the 2012 food trends list, which included:

1.  Thermomixer: A kitchen appliance that can chop, beat, mix, whip, grind, knead, mince, grate, juice, blend, heat, stir, steam and weigh food

2.  Pepe Saya Butter: Hand churned butter that separates the cream from the pasteurised cow’s milk

3.  Global Influences: Central and South American flavours such as cilantro or cumin, and Korean flavours such as soy bean or gochujang

4.  Bitter Greens: Greens including wasabi salad leaves, or kale leaves such as cavolo nero

5.  Sous Vide: French for “under vacuum”, sous vide is the method of cooking food that has been sealed in an airtight plastic bag in a water bath

Food Forward 2012 is a year-end food survey developed by Weber Shandwick, one of Australia’s leading public relations agencies. The report aims to challenge everyday thinking about the food culture of Australia and fuel further discussion between retailers, brands and consumers.


For more information, contact:

Naomi Brooker

¹About the Survey

Weber Shandwick commissioned research company, Pure Profile, to survey a nationally representative sample of 1,003 Australian consumers, during the month of November, 2011. In addition, Weber Shandwick surveyed 33 food influencers who were given the option to remain confidential.


Image credit: jh_tan84

To receive our updates: