How we eat now

Jane Pikett delves into the food trends likely to dominate 2022. Be there or be square, people!

I can hear our reader sigh at the sight of that word. Trends! Who eats according to trends? Well, no-one with any self-respect is going to allow the food on their plate to be determined by fashion, but it is interesting to see what’s grabbing foodie folk right now.

First up, it’s plant-based. Love the vegan movement or loathe it, it’s here, and if COP26 taught us anything, it’s that a plant-based dish generally has a lower carbon footprint than the alternative. Having said that, if your idea of vegan is feasting on imported mangoes and avocadoes every day, your carbon footprint is arguably more impactful than the person who buys their meat and dairy direct from the farmer down the road.

If you do want to eat plant-based in the region, we highly recommend (among others) Little Green in Sandyford, Newcastle; The Ship in Ouseburn; and Scream for Pizza on the Quayside (omnivores also welcome); and The Feathers Inn, Hedley-on-the-Hill (ring ahead to check on vegan options). These last two illustrate another trend, which is the rise of the flexitarian; ‘plant-curious’ (ridiculous term!) eaters who aren’t ready to go entirely plant-based. These people are driving demand for high-quality meat, fish, dairy and eggs, which is good news for producers.

While we’re talking about the environment, the nation’s patience with food waste is running out, and a great example of how we can better use resources is presented by REfUSE – a social enterprise in Durham which every month intercepts around 12 tonnes of food that would otherwise go to waste from retailers. This is redistributed at a pay-as-you-feel community café and restaurant in Chester-le-Street, REfUSE’s private catering arm Conscious Kitchen, partnerships with other charities, and the Waste-Not Box delivery scheme (

On the flip side, however, the nation’s pandemic-driven obsession with home-delivered food is still growing. We’re not just talking about takeaways, but the demand for grocery (often single items) deliveries within the hour, meal kits in the post, and more. It ain’t pretty, people!

Now let’s turn to breakfast, and our consumption of eggs has risen 68% in the last year, largely attributed to people working from home and spending more time over breakfast. This seems to be to be a very fine thing, so to enjoy the Appetite team’s latest breakfast favourite, take one crusty bread bun per person, slice off the top and hollow it out, lay a slice of ham in the cavity, half fill with grated cheese, break in an egg, drizzle over a teaspoon of cream, scatter over more cheese, cover with foil and bake for 25 mins at 180C/Gas 4. Yes, you can thank us later for that one…

Another favourite at Appetite HQ, and a trend which shows zero sign of slowing up, is bao buns. These warm, fluffy, sweet doughy buns are divine stuffed with lovely things such as BBQ pork, glazed mushrooms, and even chocolate. Our favourites are served up at Bao Bar on Chillingham Road, Newcastle.

Next up on the fast-growing non-dairy ‘milk’ aisle in your supermarket is potato milk. Low in sugar and saturated fat, it’s set to dominate coffee shop menus and could overtake oat and nut milks in popularity. Other food trends include umami flavours, craft pre-batched bottled cocktails, and climatarianism – a diet focused on reducing your carbon footprint.

Here’s to 2022!

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