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Food Rave

Dining into the future with food raves and Nordic naturalism

Ever been to a ‘food rave’? Fancy a spot of ‘dirty dining’? Or perhaps you are into ‘new Nordic naturalism’? These are some of the eating and dining trends of tomorrow, highlighted in the ‘Food Futures’ report from LS:N Global, the trend arm of The Future Laboratory.

According to a the report, which has a focus on the UK, eating habits are going to radically alter in the years ahead as the nation grapples with rising food prices, concerns about the environment, a desire to experiment, and a longing for a greater sense of community.

With the average cost of a dish in a UK restaurant rising by 7.5 per cent in 2010, a “new conviviality” is taking shape as consumers seek to cut costs,

Rather than eating out in traditional restaurants, Britons will increasingly share meals at home with neighbours and other members of their community. There will also be an escalation of informal open-air ‘street food’ gatherings, where the collective experience and sense of togetherness will be similar to the acid house rave movement of the late 1980s, the report says.

The re-emergence of old recipes and nostalgic packaging is also expected, as consumers look for “an anchor in turbulent times”.

“In the wake of the global recession and in an effort to create more meaning in their lives, a new conviviality and resourcefulness has emerged, as consumers seek to cut costs and create convivial moments by dining in,” the report says.

‘Food Futures’ predicts that sharing will soon become a much bigger feature of the UK’s dining habits. People will use online social networks such as Twitter build online food communities and organize eating events.

The UK will take a leaf out of France’s book, where an online network called Super Marmite allows people to post details of the dish that they are cooking, when it will be ready, the number of portions available and the cost. Other members of the community then join them to eat it.

The report also points to Sweden, where is says that energy company Vattenfall is offering discounts on fuel bills to people who dine together in order to save energy.

“Consumers are reconnecting with the rituals of creating and eating food,” the report claims.

So-called food raves will become part of everyday culture, if the futurologists are to be believed. The likely arrival of the food rave in the UK follows a recent successful event in San Francisco which saw over 2 500 visitors queue for an hour to gain entry into a night-time food festival held in an underground market. With live music playing, the visitors tasted food from over 70 up-and-coming amateur chefs.

Petra Barran, co-founder of, a London-based street food collective, said that food raves will hark back to the “DIY” house music culture of the late 1980s.

“It is a collective thing. There is a sense of people coming together from the DIY culture, maybe in a big society way, to have a bit of a party and engage with the community. I definitely think there is a void left by rave culture, when people were all together having a really good time,” said Ms Barran.

Another trend that could take off is experimental ‘dirty dining’, whereby consumers gather together and eat only food that is either black or dyed black. A dirty dining collective in Milan is known to serve feasts featuring eggs boiled in black tea and dipped in sesame seeds. The idea, according to the collective’s founder, is to challenge preconceptions that black food is unattractive and inappropriate.

However according to the report, the most exciting “foodie” trend to watch is ‘new Nordic naturalism’, which majors on local “hyper-seasonal” foraged ingredients from consumers’ immediate environs. This method, which is growing in popularity in northern Europe, also focuses on cooking techniques such as curing, smoking and brining.

Despite all the eccentric predictions, the report also highlights real concerns. It notes that global food resources are under pressure due to booming populations and increasing affluence in emerging markets.

The global food industry was worth $4 349.4bn in 2009 and this will expand to almost $6 000bn by the end of 2014, a “mouth-watering” increase of 37pc.

Source: The Telegraph

The New York Times recently looked at food raves and pop up restaurants in this article….

They gather secretly at night, and then they (shhh!) eat

Along with big-wave surfing and high-altitude ultramarathons, eating is an extreme sport here. Which explains why, on a recent Saturday night, Tipay Corpuz, 21, a technology specialist for Apple, took a break from blogging about her obsession with fried chicken and waffles to join 2 500 fellow food geeks at the Underground Night Market.

At this quasi-clandestine monthly event, a tribal gathering of young chefs, vendors and their iron-stomached followers are remaking the traditional farmers market as an indie food rave.

At midnight, the smell of stir-fried pork bellies was wafting through the Mission district. There was live music, liquor, bouncers, a disco ball — and a line waiting to sample hundreds of delicacies made mostly on location, among them bacon-wrapped mochi (a Japanese rice paste) and ice cream made from red beets, Guinness and chocolate cake.

In a sense it is civil disobedience on a paper plate.

The underground market seeks to encourage food entrepreneurship by helping young vendors avoid roughly $1 000 a year in fees — including those for health permits and liability insurance — required by legitimate farmers markets. Here, where the food rave — call it a crave — was born, the market organizers sidestep city health inspections by operating as a private club, requiring that participants become “members” (free) and sign a disclaimer noting that food might not be prepared in a space that has been inspected.

Members of the gathering have few qualms about the sampling. “I want something savory and awesome,” said David McDonald, who works with Ms Corpuz and estimates that he spends 40 percent of his income on dinners. “I want food that will put me in a coma before I go to sleep.”

Fueled by Twitter and food blogs, the market has spawned a host of underground imitators in places like Washington and Atlanta, where about 1 000 people showed up for the first of a series of monthly Saturday night craves — and where Tim Ho, a young Taiwanese-American who cooks part-time, boasted that his jellyfish salad has a crunch he compared to “tendons and ligaments.” There are outposts as far as London and Amsterdam……

The New York Times: Read more

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