So as 2008 draws to a close my thoughts go to the New Year about to begin. I have always shied away form making predictions but I don’t need to be “Mystic Meg” to guess what will be happening with British food in 2009. All the daily broadsheets here in the UK have been churning out their end-of-year forecasts and here is a summary of what they think, and incidentally I agree with.
1. The credit crunch has become a reality for everyone and the biggest bite of that crunch will be centered on eating out. History shows us that in a downturn, eating out, for many, becomes a luxury not an everyday activity as cooking at home becomes key.
2. Becoming more discerning about how we spend our hard-earned pennies means those restaurant not delivering (on food and service) will be the first to go as customers become more demanding. High-end eating will also see casualties but conversely those set to benefit is anyone offering value for money …think pubs, bistros and more homely venues.
3. The massive hike in food prices in 2008, paradoxically hasn’t been an altogether bad-thing as many us now consider the true cost of our food; the provenance and welfare now important not just the price.
4. The prediction of organic food taking a nosedive is one I am not sure about; buying less but better quality isn’t a bad thing.
5. The downturn, ironically, has already seen a rise in the purchase of cookbooks and even more using the internet searching for recipes – good news for me of course.
6. The return to less fancy and more substantial classic British food that took off in 2008 will continue to increase. Equally, “Nose-to-Tail” eating pioneered by many top chefs will become mainstream; expect to see more recipes for Pigs Trotters, Oxtail, and long slow casseroles using cheaper cuts of meat.
7. Fast food will become slow food with the return to the stove. And a couple of funny predictions from food writer Matthew Fort: -
8. Jamie Oliver will be knighted.
9. Nigella Lawson will become a guy icon
10. Valentine Warner will be the new Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, but without the teeth while Hugh will simply continue being Hugh.