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  • Writer's pictureThe Chefs

What will we buy and How will we consume food & drinks in the future in Australia

By Greg Wixted Innovation Partner Food & Consumer Pritesh Mody Innovation Partner Drinks & Experiences


Today, we live in a dynamic and turbulent world. The wave of mega-trends, including rapid change in globalization and technological advances, is creating new market opportunities for everyone, especially the hospitality, food and drink industry. For businesses to survive and prosper innovation is imperative and at the highest level in this new world, innovation has a new purpose and is far more reaching. It had to helping create a smart future where we can enjoy the best quality of life possible and that in itself will create even more opportunities and growth


You just have to look at companies like Deliveroo, they are changing the way we eat and buy food or TABS, tech that manages the deployment of the millions of gig economy and temp workers. To the work FIAL have been doing, they are focused on growing the share of Australian food in the global marketplace which serves the new higher purpose of innovation.


At the next level down we should never forget the role innovation plays in actual day to day New Product Development, but its seen as slow, process driven, takes a long time to get a product to market. That’s because companies are still trying to use only processes, but in the new world and that doesn’t work.

We have a different model and its simple, we apply our real food, drink, retail and hospitality skills, knowledge & experience and food, drink and as hospitality entrepreneurs into helping food companies & retailers. Rapidly create & test. on-trend, first to market, high growth food ideas consumers love. And we do it by taking a leaf out of the Agile playbook and have instilled a culture foodie thinking, the art of the possible, insight driven experiences, customer first thinking, experimentation and love of products. We call this the 4 key pillars of what we call it Entrepreneurial Innovation

light image of innovation
4 key pillars of what we call Entrepreneurial Innovation

The core principles of agile provide a roadmap of how agility can be translated in other areas of the business. The key to making this happen is you have adopt an Entrepreneurial and start-up mindset. Its those traits that will ensure your innovation challenge gets of the ground and its what will keep the costs and operation lean, before scale. Its something I have seen across business its states in the IT then it spreads throughout the business, it enhances creativity, especially when it come to development mode. On go the corporate blinkers and you are back to square one.

It need not be that way and the end of the day we are trying to solve complex issues, navigating change and getting stuff done – this is Agile

You should create your own innovation and creative mission and I need to be led from the top of the business. You can also that the Agile Principles and adopt them to ensure you a realising value early on. A point in case, when we created Pucker Up, we had a test audience, the guests that came to ours and our business partners restaurants from Darwin to Dublin. We took the feedback and just iterated the product based on feedback from the only the only person that counts –the Customer!

Open and honest : That means dialogue across a range of stakeholders and even you potential target audience. Keeping secrets in running innovation projects is setting yourself up to fail, the benefits you all gain more knowledge, but you have to also remove the silo mentality which are blockers. When you instill openness and transparency get better faster innovation and start to see early benefits.

·Experiment over the end product. Reformulating a product after launch is a difficult, so deploying a test and learn strategy as you work through your sprints – you could do this via a popup or concept stores of a farmers market. The feedback you get will also help reduce the risk of failure, as in Agile use iterative loops, in which consumers can try out and evaluate the idea. It’s cheaper, uses less people and its quicker and if fail. Fail fast or even incentivise early failure and move on the something new

Collaboration Throughout. From customer innovation panels, to creating a simple innovation process everyone knows and gets, to even working with start-ups or via a co-ventures. It’s not with the just customer and their feedback. It’s about all stakeholders, Real collaboration it’s not just a survey with customers or awarding large prizes in idea contests is not enough. The focus is on working together towards meeting the innovation challenge at pace.

·Adapt don’t resist: Change cannot be avoided in a world that is always changing. But an agile approach is about not just reacting to change but acting proactively. The added value in the adaptability to the company’s culture is immense, more culture, less yeast infection! If you create a customer first and love you product, you will want to do right by them and it so you more attuned so changes or adjustments to a product are no problem and everyone wins


our consulting team have been looking at some of the next innovate ideas and future trends within the restaurant, food & drink and hospitality sector in Australia and further afield. One thing is for sure, love it or hate it technology is going to have a hand in everything we do. And with the integration of technology - we can find commercial, sustainable and scalable solutions to transform the food industry for the better.


competing restaurants in xintiandi, a popular dining district in shanghai, china, joined forces to reduce food waste and sell their unused ingredients. they combined leftover food and used it to make pizzas, called repizzas. the pizzas come in over 200 flavors, with different options available to consumers every night

We have done some working this in this area looking at how we can turn factory food waste in the fuel and now sits at the top of all sustainability programmes within food processing.


Tony's Chocolonely's tagline is, "Crazy about chocolate, serious about people." Capitalizing on this socially responsible brand purpose, Tony’s produces and sells chocolate using fair trade practices, while taking a stand against slavery, child labor, and exploitation by buying cocoa beans straight from farmers (and giving them a fair price) via partnerships with trading companies in Ghana and Ivory Coast.


Based in London, the Feedr platform connects corporate businesses looking for catered work lunches and functions with local food vendors. This is attractive because companies are quickly realizing the benefits of having staff eat healthily and, as a result, are wholly or partially subsidizing their food. Feedr can offer healthy catered meals for less than £5 per day, and companies like Etsy, Airbnb, DHL, and PwC chose Feedr over supplying food via canteens.


With food delivery becoming increasingly popular, ghost restaurants that are designed solely for delivery are popping up everywhere. One of these ventures is Taster. The company has a chain of online-order-only restaurants that can prepare food in five minutes and have it deposited at your door via Deliveroo in just 20 minutes on average. This is an area we know very well from the culinarily to the logistics to the location and have done a lot of work in their area for food retailers in the UK.


Startup Stixfresh has produced a sticker that is said to make fruit stay fresh 50% longer. The sticker works by creating a protective layer around the fruit. Its coating is made from beeswax and ingredients that feature a GRAS (generally considered as safe) status issued by the US Food and Drug Administration.


Another company turning its sights on food innovation for elderly consumers is CERELAB. This R&D center specializing in wheat-flour bread developed a protein and energy enriched brioche bun. The product has been shown to improve the health of malnourished residents in nursing homes better than the typical combination of breakfast and supplements.


Food waste is an issue that consumers and retailers are increasingly paying attention to. Copenhagen-based food sharing app Too Good To Go is bringing like-minded foodies and businesses together. The innovative service connects customers with restaurants who are offering up their unsold, surplus food rather than see it go to waste.

We helped create the first waste to wonder with the award-winning Peoples Supermarket and The People’s Kitchen. The former CEO, is one of our food waste abs suitability consultants


Now kitchens in restaurants, schools, and healthcare facilities can produce fresh, organic micro greens without the need for a local garden. Green growing cabinets are designed to hold growing trays and regulate lighting, water, and humidity to produce the best tasting organic greens and herbs. The risk of losing a harvest due to drought is eliminated, giving kitchens an unending supply of local micro greens.


aspiring restaurateurs are catching on to the fact they don’t need to sink all their start-up funds into a brick and mortar location. food halls are communal dining spaces where operators can rent a booth to test out their restaurant concept. many food halls feature a list of rotating vendors that showcase the best cuisine in the area.


Shipping containers provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to start a restaurant, cafe, ice cream shop, or bar without forking out a ton of money for rent, renovations, equipment, and decor. The semi-portable shipping container can be placed near beaches or parks to attract customers, while also providing more of a natural industrial feel that can be influenced by other styles. These low-cost and unique food serving spaces often second as a drive thru

Check out the work we did a few years back for a global Donut brand and we have done a few more since then. Let’s talk container innovation


In the age of the rock-star chef, pop-ups are their world tours. They even have specially designed posters! And merch! Follow five hot young chefs on Instagram and you'll start to stumble upon pop-ups the way you do Bonobos ads. You'll learn that “pop-up restaurant” can accurately describe everything from a parking-lot cookout to a brand activation to a fine-dining experience. The only through line is that it's temporary—but even then, it might not be. Some pop-ups are sneak previews, market tests of restaurants to come, or offerings from brick-and-mortar spots on another coast.

This is something we have done a lot of working, it’s a cost-effective way to create and test new ideas…Ask how we have helped major brands test new products at festivals with a pop up experience.


The Experiential Diner, who craves not just an amazing meal, but a new and exciting dining experience. This shift towards exclusive experiences is also creating a new kind of entrepreneur and chefs are turning to events to build their brand and highlight their creativity without the huge costs of owning a full-on restaurant. Something we know a lot about at in the Catering and Consulting team as we have 8 entablements today, which is why created service offer to help helps and brands create these experiences.

In research carried out by Eventbrite, 75% of pop-up event attendees believe it’s worth paying more money for a unique dining experience. In fact, 50% of respondents say that even with the exact same menu, they’d be willing to pay more for a meal at an event with a chef interaction than for a meal at a regular restaurant. Cost is not a major concern to the experiential diner — 59% don’t feel that these dining event’s cost is very important when deciding whether or not to attend, what does it for them?, unique menu or theme, one be one-of-a-kind experience and a memorable location. Best of all its pre paid so a win all around, Diner don’t have to worry about the bill. Chef knows how many covers he needs to turn a profit, less food waste and lost revenue due to no-shows. Then you can up sell everything from merch to booze

A great case is Mazi Mas in Sydney is based on a London program of the same name. In Australia, Mazi Mas organises pop-up events in venues around the city. Each event, usually repeating over two or three nights, highlights the food of two refugee or asylum seeker women from the community who cook their home recipes for a paying audience.

Unlike other innovation consultants, we are chefs, entrepreneurs and food inventors, so if you want to better understand how your bran can make an impact, come and have a chat with us.


Fitting right in with sustainability is the trend for hyper-local restaurants, which takes the concept one step further. Diners are looking for restaurants that grow produce in their own backyard…or rooftop. Growing agriculture is all dependent on space, but it can be as simple as growing herbs to use in cocktails or as expansive as growing tomatoes for fresh salads. For restaurant owners the benefit of being hyper-local is two-fold – not only are they following an industry trend, they also have less waste and save money on produce.

We have designed several of these concepts and worked with a US university and MBA students on the commercial viability, If you would like to know more drop us a line


Chefs and bartenders are mixing things up by adding garden and other food ingredients to the cocktails they’re creating. If you’re thinking savoury, fresh ingredients and herb-infused flavours, you’re onto a trend one of the leaders in this is World of Zing, now growing into a global brand, but keeping its uniqueness, they created a whole new category on airlines, with their delicious culinary cocktails


Australians are stepping out of the kitchen and relying on the convenience of food bought outside of home and delivered via online services. The annual Shape of Australia survey offered useful insights into areas where we need to make changes but also highlighted some positive health behaviors we can use to drive and embed healthier habits and improve our diet.

One in ten of us order food online at least once a week, a third of Australians (36%) said they upsized their meal when ordering online and one in six of us eat a meal or snack bought outside of our homes every day. But this all comes at a price, but I look like a price we are willing to pay. According to research by Cowen, almost half of the people asked use a food delivery service more than once a month. By 2023, it’s expected that the food delivery business will grow more than three times the rate of on-premises sales and another report suggests 70% of meals will be off premise.

What will this mean for your business or restaurant group, we have done a lot of work in this area so drop us a line or come and have a chat about how we can help transform your food business.


Eco-anxiety is taking hold across society, with a renewed focus on the health of the planet and what we can do to help. Consumers are increasingly cutting back on their meat consumption. But when they do eat meat or fish they are looking for locally farmed and minimal wastage. Consumers are not only focussed on the health of the environment, but on their own individual health as well. Pickled, cured and fermented ingredients are a great way to live more sustainably by reducing food waste and helps to boost our own gut health too.

Think about

· Heroing vegetables and ‘clean’ vegan dishes

· Easy dairy swaps with alternative nut mylks

· New proteins to replace meat in indulgent dishes

· Unusual or forgotten meat, fish and cuts

· Reusing food waste in innovative ways

· Meat and fish served on the bone

· Nose-to-tail and root-to-leaf cooking


Food and drink is all about fun. We want to interact with friends and family, sharing food and enjoying tastes of lots of different things. Eating with your hands can be fun, if not a little messy, so why not have dishes served up on skewers, all designed to stand out on social media. There is now much more of a focus on fully sensory experiences within food and drink. There is a whole scale of experience, from full on immersion, through to subtle use of smell, light and sound. Seeing how the food or drink is prepared and served allows for interaction and creates a talking point

Times ahead are uncertain, and amongst the chaos and doomsday predictions, we’re looking for a little fun. With the rise of social media, experience is leading the way. 2020 is all about immersing ourselves in the dining experience with friends and family. Check out some of the really cool Immersive food ideas or our drinks innovation lab for more amazing ideas


· Drinks and desserts flavouring new dishes

· Bright, bold and dark colours in drinks and desserts

· Smoking and cooking over flame to create theatre at the table

· Aroma and vapours for cocktails to awaken all the senses


World of Zing our innovation partners are now introducing Flavour Origins as its new cocktail menu, which invites guests to experience a rich sensory experience through flavour’s that are fruity, botanical and earthy. The craft cocktail menu is organized as such into three categories and encourages guests to explore its offerings in an unconventional way with a flavour Chart. Since the flavour Origins menu is all about flavour discovery, it aims to get people trying something that they might not otherwise go for. In all, there are 24 creative cocktails on the menu, including two non-alcoholic options. These flavourful choices include drinks like the botanical Yellow Jacket, which can be found on the Strong & Aromatic + Adventurous flavour Chart, and the Untraditional Manhattan with a comforting earthy taste.


Across all sectors, a paradigm shift is noticeable. Consumers are redefining values by seeing products from a new perspective, which is: what effect does it have on myself and on the world when I buy a particular product? Due to the great trends of mindfulness and minimalism, in the future more emphasis should be placed on "inner journeys" than on "external appearances". This also means that the market for luxury and premium products is rising, as they stand for higher quality and longevity and sustainability. Checkout the Royal Salute at $30,000 a bottle.

Royal Salute created an extremely rare Scotch Blend, which is titled the 'Times Series 52 Year Old Single Cask Finish,' and it is comprised of both the newest and oldest whiskeys created by Royal Salute. The new blend will be limited to 106 bottles, and each of them will have a price of $30,000. Sandy Hyslop, who is a Master Blender at Royal Salute, spoke about the new Scotch blend, “With 52 years of aging, the delicate balance of some of the rarest of our whiskeys, has created an unrivaled depth of flavor and unbelievably complex characteristic, making for a remarkable expression that perfectly shows that time is a key element of our creations.”'


The Cutwater canned cocktail collection features premium, ready-to-drink beverages that are conveniently packaged for on-the-go enjoyment. The beverage brand offers a variety of tasty, remixed cocktails like a Tequila Margarita that is made with natural lime, orange and triple sec flavors, a Fugu Vodka Mule that features natural ginger bitters and lime and a Spicy Bloody Mary that is blended with a signature mix -- also available in a Mild Bloody Mary option.

Other Cutwater canned cocktails to note include Fugu Grapefruit, Lime and Cucumber vodka soda varieties, an Old Grove Gin & Tonic mix, a Three Sheets Rum & Cola and a Tequila Paloma. Additionally, a Whiskey Lemon Tea, a Three Sheets Rum & Ginger, a Black Skimmer Whiskey Highball and more are featured alongside a Fugu Horchata Cold Brew that is a boozy twist on a caffeinated classic.


Changing attitudes towards conventional packaging solutions are challenging brands to distribute their products in creative new ways and to do so, whisky brand The Glenlivet unveiled The Glenlivet Capsule Collection. In partnership with sustainable packaging company Nootka and cocktail legend Alex Kratena, The Glenlivet created "glassless cocktails" that are wrapped in edible, seaweed-based pods. These consumable capsules offer a completely different way for adults to experience the brand's products and do so in a sustainable way. The Glenlivet Capsule Collection, unveiled at London Cocktail Week, features edible, fully biodegradable capsules that burst in the mouth to provide a shot of flavor, all without the need for traditional cocktail-making tools and accessories like drinkware, ice

Right on time for summer wedding season, wedding company Zola is announcing a partnership with Diageo to make it easy for couples and guests to access custom bottle engravings and cocktail kits for special celebrations. Tequila Don Julio Blanco cocktail called 'The Zola Paloma' or a Ketel One Botanical cocktail, which is specifically centered on helping brides ask women they love to be a bridesmaid. Diageo's Tequila Don Julio 1942, Johnnie Walker Blue Label and Bulleit 10 Year Old are now available as wedding registry gifts and can be customized with a meaningful personal engraving via Reserve Bar.Speak to our Drinks Lab Team if you are interested in creating that something extra for your customers


Pernod Ricard is delivering a new non-alcoholic beverage to consumers in the form of Celtic Soul, a non-alcoholic blend of distilled dark spirits. The no-ABV product boasts alluring notes of sweet vanilla, spices and oak, and was created by Craig Hutchison, founder and managing director of gin alternative Ceder’s, who says: "The mindset of the drinker has changed and to have a sophisticated drink doesn’t mean it has to contain alcohol. It’s about the ritual, the serve, the taste and the adult price point The demand for no-alcohol and even low-alcohol products is only continuing to grow and Celtic Soul fills a void in the market specifically for dark spirits.


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