The good health of ourselves and our planet continue to top the list of food trends for 2020, despite, or perhaps because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fennec recently sat down with Pinal Balar, National Manager of Service Foods Homes to discuss what Kiwis fancy when it comes to their food.
At the beginning of the year, the word ‘Flexitarian’ joined the lexicon – a diet trend that has seen consumers cut down meat consumption, rather than cutting it out completely. ‘Plant-based’ has been replaced by ‘Plant-forward’ – loosening the rules around vegetarian and vegan diets to make them a more accessible option to a larger variety of Kiwis. This trend has not been diverted by the global pandemic.
“More and more of our Service Foods Home customers are turning towards being vegetarian or plant-based at least for three nights a week, if not more,” noted Balar.
“Our customers are more educated on how to make nutritious, filling vegetarian meals – we’re selling more and more vegetables like lentils, people aren’t as cautious as they have been in the past to incorporate these vegetables into their daily diets.”
Yes, Kiwis have finally learned not to fear the lentil! We have also figured out that veggies can be delicious, and with the help of the surge of online cooking tutorials born out of professional chefs being stuck at home during lockdown, we can now cook great food at home.
The pandemic has exposed many things, including the importance of having a strong immune system and overall good health. So, as well as learning about vegetarian or plant-focused options, consumers are also educating themselves on functional foods. Gut health, for example, is on the tip of everyone’s tongues at the moment and products that support gut health are being advertised everywhere.
In general, customers are making healthier food choices, even when they are buying in bulk and buying ‘junk’ food. It makes sense fast-food chains, like McDonald’s, are now starting to include fresh, gourmet and free-range options on its menus. The consumption and demand for processed foods have drastically dropped, while the demand for a wider variety of healthier options has increased – and the demands are being listened to.
“Eight years ago, when I moved to New Zealand, I remember dining out wasn’t so easy for me being a vegetarian, I would usually find a salad dish to suit my dietary requirement. However, now my options are endless, no matter where I go.”
The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has also made consumers increasingly aware of where their food is coming from and how it is handled. Customers want food that has been touched less, that’s fresh and straight from the farm or grower, and customers are willing to pay more to get better quality produce. Kiwi’s are focused on their own health and the health of our back yard.
“Service Foods Home customers are not just conscious of their food, but also food packaging,” explained Balar.
“We use zero-waste, naked packaging for all our fresh veggies. And reduce waste in every department where possible. Our customers are willing to pay more for conscious packaging, it’s very important.”
‘Bulk Is Better’ – that’s the new mantra according to Service Foods Homes, which has seen an increase in bulk buying. This could be a hangover from lockdown, with Kiwi consumers readying their pantries in case panic buying becomes a thing again. However, bulk buying also supports eco-friendly and sustainable trends (by using less packaging), plus it saves money! All Service Foods Home spices, nuts and, whole-foods come in 1kg packaging.
“Our customers can save a fortune buying bulk size compared to the smaller packs available at other grocery stores.”
Of course, the real movement to come out of COVID has been Support Local. The closure of international borders has brought Kiwis home to the great products made right here in Aotearoa.
“From veggies to packed products, customers are more aware of, and wanting to support locally produced products.”
Luckily, we don’t have to look far for these. Service Foods Home is proud to be a family run business which is 100% New Zealand owned. For over 35 years’ Service Foods has been known as the company behind every great chef, and now they’re getting behind everyday New Zealand families.
“Our company is founded in foodservice – supplying the country’s leading hotels, restaurants and caterers with the best, freshest and most exciting product, at the best price. We’ve travelled the country and the globe to source the best ingredients, and we’re proud to have a consistent supply chain cemented in the long-term relationships we have with our producers.”
Service Foods Home has utilised these same professional systems to open its services to the public, giving everyone access to quality, range, convenience and the safety of contactless purchase and delivery – all without blowing the household budget.
“Whether we’re delivering to restaurant doors or front porches, the Service Foods philosophy stays the same,” concluded Balar
“We believe the best foods come from right here. We believe in sustainability and ethical farming. We believe in sourcing local and supporting local wherever possible. And we believe that great food starts with great ingredients.”
We couldn’t agree more. Check out all that Service Foods Home has to offer by visiting their website, servicefoodshome.co.nz and stay up to date with the latest thoughts and trends by following Service Foods Home on Facebook and Instagram.