It’s pretty clear that nutrition is a top priority nowadays – from turmeric lattes to kefir to low and no alcohol drinks. In my post about 2019 food and drink trends, the issue of health and nutrition was one of the biggest trends predicted by The Food People.
You are what you eat
According to research done by global research firm IRI, more than two thirds (72%) of UK shoppers are interested in and buying healthy food. This has led to an increase in health food trends, including the focus on fermented food such as kimchi and kefir, which are believed to assist with gut health. The hospitality industry has responded, with increasing numbers of healthy and sustainable restaurants opening across the UK to cater to the demand for health-conscious dining. Even fine dining establishments such as Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck are now selling kombucha, the new fermented drink of choice.
Interested in how far this trend goes, I teamed up with Silent Customer, the mystery dining and customer feedback company, and conducted a survey. Of the customers surveyed, over 50% wanted calories in food to be made available in restaurants so that they could choose the healthiest meal available.
However, even though many restaurants are tending towards healthier ingredients, it’s pretty clear that there is one area which is woefully underrepresented on the nutrition front – and that’s condiments. This may have something to do with condiments’ bad reputation. According to Monica Auslander, a registered dietitian, one teaspoon of Heinz ketchup is the equivalent of eating a sugar packet. Mayonnaise suffers from a similar bad boy image, as most mayo uses processed refined soybean oil, which is much less healthy than olive oil. Condiments are also stereotypically used in less healthy meals, such as on burgers, chicken wings, and fries.
Condiments of choice
However, there are many delicious and low-sugar condiments available. One is Dr Will’s, an all-natural range of condiments created by a doctor and a restauranteur. Josh from Dr Will’s explains:
“We have a medical approach to ingredients and health, which alongside my restaurateur background allows for healthier ingredients which are also built for taste. This is the main reason why we use dates for sweetness rather than refined sugar. Dates have a naturally occurring sugar which is low GI and therefore is broken down much easier.”
Their BBQ sauce, ketchup and mayonnaise are all preservative-free.
Cantina’s chimichurri is another option. A zesty condiment from South America, Cantina’s chimichurri is all-natural and vegan, due to owners Koosha and Miles’ commitment to their own health. They explain:
“There’s a been a very clear shift in the attention people are giving to their wellbeing, going beyond simply trying to get fit or lose weight. They want to make sure what they eat is actually good for them, even if it’s just a few dollops of sauce.”
Vegan and veggie explosion
According to The Vegan Society, demand for meat-free food increased by 978% in 2017 and going vegan was the biggest food trend in 2018. Many restaurants have also added healthy vegan options to their menus, with jackfruit burgers, kale chips and mushroom ramen all making appearances.
However, it is still difficult for vegans to find flavoursome and healthy condiments, even in restaurants that cater to their dietary needs. Condiment producer Jabulani comments:
“Free From producers can make it easier for chefs by providing products that are easy to store and to use so as to prepare fast meals for vegans in restaurants and hotels. Relish is great as a condiment, it can even add nutrients to many dishes. The most delicious condiments are vegan!”
There are so many healthy condiment options from Dr Will’s, Jabulani, and Cantina, who all offer delicious vegan and preservative-free sauces, relishes and ketchups. Perhaps it is time for restaurants to wake up and see that there is a world of condiments beyond the sugar-laden offerings of Heinz and Hellmans.