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Current Food Trends in Singapore 2019

Neha Gupta

The food and beverage industry has for a long time beencontrolled by producers but consumers have lately taken up more control of whatthey eat and thus controlling demand. This is a trend that has been happeningin many countries including Singapore.

Healthy eating has become increasingly popular in Singaporeand it is one of the trends that prevailed in 2018 and it looks like it willalso be a huge trend in 2019. It is also right up there with the call forbetter environmental practices. Below are some of the major trends that willlikely dominate Singapore’s food and beverage practices.

Non-alcoholic drinks will join menus alongside their alcoholic counterparts

Many restaurants in Singapore complement the dishes on theirmenus with alcoholic beverages. However, it gets awkward for teetotalers (thosethat do not take alcohol) when they go to bars with their friends. Bars andrestaurants are taking note and thus realized the need for non-alcoholiccocktails that will also be available for teetotalers. The trend has alreadygiven rise to drinks such as agua fresca, ginger ale, Kombucha, and no-alcoholspirits and Such drinks can also be offered at social events.

Environmentally friendly packaging

Restaurants have been shifting towards the use ofenvironmentally friendly packaging for their food and beverage products. Thisis in line with the increasing call for economic sustainability. Such a movecreates a strong reputation for the business, therefore making it moreattractive to customers. Anyone running a business in the food and beverageindustry should, therefore, consider trying out biodegradable packaging orstraws among other things.

A focus on local products

Many restaurants have started sourcing their raw productsfrom local suppliers in line with the focus on better environmental practicesas well as reducing costs. The cost of sourcing ingredients from foreignmarkets is high, thus the shift towards local produce. The transportationprocess requires the use of machinery and vehicles which run on fuel, thus pollutingthe environment.

Meanwhile, most agricultural products in Singapore are notmade using processes that are fertilizer-intensive and they are also notgenetically modified. This is a good example of a trend that is not only goodfor a business but it also supports local suppliers.

A focus on smaller menus

Most restaurants or fast food joints often have a populardish or a few popular dishes that keep customers back. One of the latest trendsparticularly in the food industry involves trimming down the menu. Restaurantsthat are doing this focus on a few great dishes that are a hit with customers ratherthan providing many choices to their customers, thus making it hard for thecustomer to choose. Providing a smaller menu to choose from makes things mucheasier for customers. The focus on fewer items on the menu also makes itpossible for a restaurant to achieve more efficiency by reducing the cost ofingredients.

Having a smaller menu for your restaurant is just likeoffering specials to the customers to attract more customers. This strategicmove may also help to regain customers especially when customers end up havinga favorite dish.

Having an online presence

E-commerce was a huge trend in 2018 and it will alsocontinue to be highly popular in 2019 especially thanks to smartphones. Onlineretail helps many businesses to reach a wider market. It has also seen the riseof fast-food deliveries but it is not necessarily a threat to regular brick andmortar restaurants. This is because restaurants can also take advantage of theonline shift by introducing their own delivery option or even introducing amerchant payment option in their system that allows customers to pay usingtheir mobile handsets.

There are various advantages that come with such an onlineshift as shown below:

  1. Digital payments reduce the average waitingtime.

  2. Having an online payment option benefits theowner of the business by slashing costs that would have been used to employextra labor.

  3. The business is able to keep up with thecompetition.

  4. The business generates more revenue through awider online reach.

Providing vegan and non-processed options

More and more people are making the conscious decision tobecome vegan and thus the vegan community continues to grow. The demand fornon-processed beverages or beverages that do not contain chemicals has alsobeen on the rise. Food outlets have taken note of this. The best approach inthis kind of scenario is to introduce vegan-friendly dishes and alsonon-processed or healthier drinks.

Tea to become a normal part of cocktails at bars

Tea-based cocktails are not common but might become popular in2019. The trend was started by Aki Wang, a bartender, and owner of a Taipei barcalled Indulge Bistro. The latter has been ranked as one of the top 50 bars inthe world while Wang has also earned himself the title of ‘Godfather ofTaiwan’s bartending industry.’

Wang’s goal is to combine teas from Taiwan with his cocktailrecipes. His cocktails have been rapidly gaining traction in Singapore, withsome bars already adding tea-based cocktails in their menu. This trend isprobably here to stay in 2019, thus providing a whole new option to explore.

A focus on plant-based proteins

The focus on healthier living has clearly been shaping thedirection of the food industry especially with the call for foods that have asmaller carbon footprint on the environment. A company called Impossible Foodsbelieves that one of the solutions for the food industry is plant-basedproteins. The firm has already developed plant-based meat which tastes likeregular meat thanks to advanced food science.

The company also claims that its plant-based meat offers the same nutritional value as animal meat. Impossible Foods also argues that its products are more sustainable, ideal for the vegan community and that they also have a smaller carbon footprint than regular meat. Impossible Foods launched in Singapore in March this year and are likely to become highly popular in the country’s food industry.  The products have already been widely accepted in Macau and Hong Kong where they are available in many restaurants.

(By Neha Gupta)

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