2022 – the year of potato milk and more meat alternatives

Sponsored: 2022 could be the year you have your first glass of potato milk. What other sustainable food trends await us this year? Laura Taylor, buyer at allmanhall, investigates

As 2022 gets underway, one trend that continues to grow is consumer awareness of sustainability and the role their food, amongst other things, can play in making a positive impact. This is particularly true of pupils and is therefore hugely relevant to schools. Read on to see what trends 2022 could bring!

There are a lot of terms being used to describe the concept of conscious or mindful eating. Vegetarian and vegan are perhaps the ones we are most familiar with and associate with the elimination of meat, making the consumer meat-free or plant-based. Flexitarian, climatarian and reducetarian are less familiar, and although each may have their individual aspects, they all essentially focus on moderating the amount of meat consumed rather than committing to a full vegetarian or vegan diet.

Reducing the amount of red meat we consume is a key change that many of us are already incorporating into our eating habits. With 1 kilo of beef accounting for 60 kilos of CO₂ emissions, switching to a meat with a lower carbon impact is a step towards reducing our individual carbon footprint. In comparison to beef, 1 kilo of chicken emits 6 kilos of CO₂. Replacing beef with a poultry alternative is an easy way to eat mindfully whilst keeping meat on the menu.

With so many developments and innovations in meat-free cuisine, it is becoming much easier and more appealing to eat consciously without sacrificing flavour. 2021 saw the launch of McDonald’s McPlant burger, “a vegan burger made with a juicy plant-based patty co-developed with BeyondMeat®”. Strides away from the veggie-burgers we are used to, there are more and more innovations in plant-based meat alternatives that now have the same look, smell, texture and taste as their real-meat counterparts.

For those that want to do their part in reducing the carbon footprint of their food but do not wish to cut red meat completely from their diet, we are seeing a focus on blended meat options

For 2022 one of the most touted trends is plant-based chicken. Offering something more than the current Quorn products, the race is on as to which fast-food chain will release their no-chicken chicken burger/wrap/meal first.

For those that want to do their part in reducing the carbon footprint of their food but do not wish to cut red meat completely from their diet, we are seeing a focus on blended meat options. Combining beef, for example, with meat-free components such as mushrooms, the overall red meat consumption is essentially halved whilst the product retains all the elements of a regular beef-based meal.

These are all options school caterers can consider when addressing the carbon footprint of their own menu, and in line with pupil demand as well as school targets.

With so many addressing their carnivorous diets, it is expected that cultivated meat will be widely accepted by the public but particularly across the younger generations, who have a great interest and awareness in the environmental impact of their food supply and the meat market.

Milk substitutes

However, mindful alternatives are not just confined to the meat market. For 2022 we can expect to see a continuing rise in the variety of milk substitutes.

Oat milk is already a popular product and ingredient, but we can now replace our regular dairy from-the-cow milk with things like buckwheat milk, pea milk and even potato milk – look out for this as one of 2022’s likely big trends! Low in saturated fat and sugar and with potatoes being a source of antioxidants and vitamins, it is also a great alternative for allergy sufferers as it is free from dairy, gluten, and soy.

Swedish brand Dug claims its potato milk is the most sustainable alternative milk on the market, with the growth of potatoes producing less CO₂ emissions than dairy farming, needing over 50% less water than almonds to grow and requiring approximately 50% less land to grow potatoes than needed for the equivalent amount of oats. Yet it is likely that potato milk will be more expensive than its dairy counterpart. Whilst the taste is to be determined, its strong sustainability credentials make it one to look out for over the coming year.

Eating mindfully is no longer seen as just eating healthily. Environment is a long way up the agenda. In fact, it may be more appropriate to predict the top food trend for 2022 as awareness.

Find out more on this topic from the team at allmanhall

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