6 Food Trends to Look Out For in 2023
With the rising cost of living, many Australians are pressured to shift some of their daily habits, including the way they eat. While cooking at home still remains the most affordable way to eat, many continue to dine out for the experience.
And when it comes to dining out, Melbourne offers a plethora of choices. The city has long been a melting pot of different cuisines and cultures, which helps us embrace whatever food trend is served our way.
So, what food trends are taking shape in 2023? Let’s grab a fork and read on for the full scoop on what Australia’s culinary capital is dishing up.
What are food trends?
Are you one of those people who are eager to try new and exciting flavours? Have you ever wondered what influences food trends and what makes some come and go in a flash and others linger a tad longer?
While foodies are merely looking to satisfy their palates, chefs and business people in the hospitality industry work hard to stay competitive. Restaurants try to come up with fun and exciting things to keep customers coming back.
Food is similar to fashion and just like fashion fads, food trends come and go. But what influences food trends? For the past decade or so, the biggest impact on food trends has been social media.
The Covid pandemic also has its fair share of culture-shifting. People became more health-conscious and some even switched to plant-based and gluten-free diets.
From food trucks and dessert bars to gourmet burgers and eco-conscious eating, some food trends are longer lasting than others and, over time, play a major role in shaping cultural identity.
1. Deli sandwiches
It seems that sandwiches have always been around but recently they took the world by storm.
Legend has it that the name ‘sandwich’ first popped up in 18th century England when John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, decided he didn’t want to leave the game of cards he was playing just to go and eat. Instead, he asked his cook to place a slice of roast beef between two slices of bread so that he could eat with his hands. And so a legend was born.
Melbourne has been sandwich obsessed for quite some time now, with cafes and delis popping up on every corner. Whether Italian or New York style, deli sandwiches remain popular because they are cheap, varied, easy to prepare, and simple to pack. You can put anything between two slices of bread and call it a sanga. The possibilities are endless.
2. Spanish dining
Spanish cuisine planted its roots in Australia with the first Spanish and Latin American settlements. Ever since, the list of Spanish restaurants and food trucks in Melbourne has only been growing, even more so with the increased number of immigrants from Latin American countries.
As the Spanish food tradition of tapas gained popularity worldwide as a unique dining experience, so did Melbournians accept it as a fun way to enjoy food with friends and family.
But it’s not just tapas. From traditional paellas and patatas bravas to delicious Spanish treats like churros, Spanish food in Melbourne is a trend that will never die.
The first Japanese restaurant in Australia opened in 1953, but it wasn’t until the 1980s, when sushi arrived, that Japanese cuisine became as popular as McDonald’s. Now, Aussie’s love affair with Japanese cuisine continues to grow stronger with ramen hotspots, fine diners and omakase dining rooms popping on every corner.
As long as sushi is among Australia’s top 5 favourite foods, Japanese food will never become a passing trend in Melbourne.
4. Mocktails/non-alcoholic or low-alcohol beverages
It’s easy to see why non-alcoholic drinks are taking over Melbourne bars. As people turn to a healthier lifestyle post-Covid, they substitute their cocktails with mocktails, smoothies and other alcohol-free drinks.
When it comes to drinking out, it’s not unusual to see a NOgroni or a virgin mojito on a bar menu in Melbourne or even have your food paired with one. The era of alcohol-free drinking is just starting and Aussies are surely enjoying the new hangover-free lifestyle.
Non-alcoholic drinks are also gaining popularity because more are being produced and are readily available in supermarkets.
5. Vegan and gluten-free meals
Vegetarianism and veganism are no longer a trend but a lifestyle of more than 2.5 million Australians. In the past decade, plant-based diet has drastically increased, with 6% of the population being vegan today.
Many restaurants in Melbourne happily cater to different customers’ dietary requirements and some are 100 percent vegan. There is no denying fast-food consumption is increasing too. Still, more and more people are turning to fast-food alternatives, including seasonal eating, keto, juicing, and home-cooked comfort meals that simulate fast food.
Even fast food chains like Domino’s and Pizza Hut have been accommodating to vegan customers. You can find various vegan options on their menus, including vegan cheese and vegan buffalo chicken.
The vegan culture in Australia became mainstream thanks to many celebrity vegans and influencers. As a trend that survives three years post Covid, it’s spread fast across Australia, with vegan food centers and vegan music festivals taking place in every state and territory.
Seafood lovers can sit back and relax. Oysters and prawns are not going anywhere. On the contrary, seafood eating in Melbourne is only going to get better.
While Melbourne is no Port Lincoln when it comes to seafood-eating culture, it certainly is getting closer to becoming the seafood capital of Australia. This is due to the increased demand for local seafood, the traditional fishmonger comeback, and the launch of numerous fine seafood restaurants.
Given the fact that Australians eat around 15kg of seafood per person, it’s safe to say that seaganism is a trend that will never cease to exist. Well, certainly not in Melbourne.
Some food trends of 2023 will come as a surprise to many. But Melbournians can chill, as more and more restaurant menus cater to their tastes.
So, whether you are a seafood lover, a health-conscious eater, or a tapas food fan, there is no better place than Melbourne to find it.