“I don’t take salt due to my condition.”
“Can you omit onions and garlic in my order as I do not consume those?”
“What can you feed me given that I have to avoid high-tyramine foods?”
These are just some of the conversations I have with people who place their orders with A Plate of Bahay Kubo, a plant-based food delivery service. Customers from time to time make these special requests to satisfy their curiosity for plant-based food and at the same time to nourish their body without harming it too much.
I have seen a growing number of people who have either transitioned to plant-based or have started becoming curious about the lifestyle, which creates an impact on how food is produced and consumed. In fact, we are now seeing food manufacturing companies producing plant-based meat to cater to this market segment. This does not cover plant-based per se, but many other dietary preferences such as keto, low sugar, low sodium and other food preferences of consumers.
In general, given the pandemic and soaring cost of food supplies — both vegetables, meat and other produce — shifts are being seen in the following areas of production:
Homestead production. This is growing your own food. A UN Food and Agriculture Organization report noted that the “homestead food production model contributes to improved household food security, nutrition and even female empowerment based on the experience from scaling-up programs in Asia particularly in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal and Philippines.” We will be seeing more and more of these especially when households would like to make their food secure and safe.
Food storage. Many skills can be learned in this area including preservation and fermentation. Preservation usually involves the use of sugar (or pectin), salt and vinegar, among others, to extend the shelf life of produce, such as fruits and vegetables. One can do jams and spreads using sugar, pickled vegetables using salt and vinegar, and just store these in the fridge to add to your food preparation or meal spreads.
Another example is fermentation where, with the use of microorganisms, one can make beverages (kombucha, liquer), bread (sourdough, donuts) and other types of food (cheese, fermented fish and vegetables, for example).
One favorite method of mine is utilizing the confit technique — which is to cook slowly over a long period of time as a method of food preservation.
The above are just two of many examples of what can be done to maximize use of food resources and to avoid any wastage as much as possible. People now have varied preferences of consuming food which could be based on three key areas:
Food allergies and intolerances. Examples include dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, low sodium, low fat
Special dietary requirements. Vegan, vegetarian, lacto-ovo, paleo, keto
Religious. Halal, kosher
These different dietary preferences will have an impact on how food is produced, prepared and delivered, which would then look at how food is processed. It is no longer a one-size-fits-all for food and nutrition. For consumers, there are many available options out there. For food manufacturers, the number of market segments to cater to continues to increase. In the end, food becomes a curated experience, due to the variety of offerings available, and in the flexibility of making them such.
The author may be reached at email@example.com or follow her at Instagram @kaycalpolugtu and @aplateofbahaykubo.