Faux meat the latest food trend
It looks like meat, but doesn't taste or smell like it. Vegetarian Mark Berriman explains the make-up of faux meat.
FAUX meat, allergen-free foods and yoghurt shops are tipped to be among the biggest food trends of 2013.
In its annual ''things to watch'' list, the global marketing group JWT is also predicting a move toward more food-sharing services and an increase in the number of vegan babies.
The authors of the list say meat substitutes are already gaining popularity as people cut back for budget, health or environmental reasons, and as faux meat products improve in taste.
The trend, spearheaded by two-year-old Dutch restaurant the Vegetarian Butcher, is now spreading across the globe. Spoon's Vegetarian Butcher in Sydney, which also delivers to Melbourne customers, sells a range of faux meat, including replacement chicken, sausage, burger and schnitzel products. The Footscray eatery Bo de Trai, run by Buddhist monks, also serves mock meat and seafood.
Allergen-free foods, which some predict could soon become as ubiquitous as gluten-free products, are also on the rise. With food allergies increasing worldwide, manufacturers are scrambling to produce foods free of allergens like diary, peanuts, egg, soy and shelfish.
Sharing home-cooked meals with strangers is also tipped to be a booming trend in 2013 with predictions that copycat versions of online meal co-op services Mealku in New York and Super Marmite in Paris will soon spring up in other cities. The services connect home cooks who trade meals with other home chefs. It is particularly popular among single and couple households who are often laden with leftovers or who loathe cooking for one.
Meanwhile, yoghurt shops - selling non-frozen yoghurt - could soon become the new ice-cream parlour.
Health-conscious consumers have been flocking to yoghurt boutiques in New York for cups of traditional and Greek yoghurt with healthy toppings such as fresh fruit, seeds and nuts.
In more good news for those watching their weight, scientists are busy perfecting mid-calorie foods - products with reduced or medium calories but more taste than diet or low-calorie products.