By Izzy Warren-Gonzalez
Why do we make New Year’s resolutions? Historically, it was a Roman thing. Julius Caesar himself ruled that New Year began on Jan. 1 in 46 BC. The month of January is named after the Roman god, Janus. He was seen as having two faces—one looking backward and the other looking forward. This symbolized his ability to look forward, while building from what he saw in the past. Incidentally, he was also the guardian of arches, gates, doors, beginnings, and endings. Perhaps as worship to Janus, Caesar urged his subjects to commit to personal improvement in the New Year. To this day, people still take the chance of another revolution around the sun to be as good a time as any to make predictions or set goals for their life ahead.
Research, however, shows that most people give up on their resolutions maybe about a month into the year, and fewer than one in 10 people manage to keep their resolutions until the last week of the year. Behavioral scientists say that the problem lies in generality as people often set too large and too vague targets such as “eating healthy” or “cutting down on smoking.”
Therefore, we ask ourselves, “Are predictions and forecasts for the coming year similar to New Year’s resolutions? Do we make these and then promptly let our predictions lapse in favor of where life brings us, be it good or bad?” Well, yes and no.
Predictions and forecasts for entire industries have substantially more data to go with than “Oh, I think I’m a little bit overweight, and I want to lose five pounds this year.” This answers the problem of vagueness because targets and predictions are based on real life experience and evidence—however, it isn’t always just about accuracy.
Predictions are written to bring attention to an ambitious future, different from what the world is like today. In other words, predictions for the coming year and the coming decade serve as an optimistic look at what the world can become. This is why predicting food trends is so important. Knowing food culture and how people will consume it in the next year and in the next 10 years is a vote of confidence for the industry, as it will grow to new heights and explore new depths.
Luis Daniel Tabuena is known for his art. A frightfully successful film director and producer behind Provill Studios and Greenroom Digital Studios, Tabuena’s vision is something to be appreciated. Along with his directorial duties and various other businesses, he is also one of the major players of the successful Legazpi Village pubs—The Belle & Dragon, Mandalay Whiskey, and Cigar Bar. We asked him what his forecasts for the new decade would be.
Do more people have allergies and dietary restrictions than before? Do you think this will continue to influence how people eat at restaurants?
I’m not sure that people have more allergies now, but I think people are more aware that they have certain tolerances. For example, I found that I don’t react particularly well to processed sugar, so I tend to stay away from it when I eat out.
What will kids’ menus look like?
Really nonexistent, except for fast food restaurants. My son eats my food (Note: Tabuena’s son is below three years old). This is an interesting prediction, as the worldwide trend seems to be going in a similar direction. Forbes.com reported that “Millennial parents are raising a generation of little foodies. Whole Foods Market staff members report they frequently see kids reaching for California Rolls alongside their parents at the sushi bar, and they’re not the only ones taking note of the young adventurous eats. Restaurants and food brands are upgrading old-school kids’ menus to include things like non-breaded salmon fish sticks, organic chicken nuggets, pastas made from alternative flours, and more.” While globally it seems that kids are indeed becoming more adventurous with their food selections, it also appears that the old favorites are getting a much-needed healthy reboot at restaurants across the US.
How has the concept of sustainability affected what people think is “good food?”
Generally, the concept that the food you’re eating is responsibly and organically grown is a major plus in the perception that it’s “good.” I rarely connect sustainability with “good tasting” food, personally. For me, sustainability is more aligned with how food is produced and packaged, rather than its taste.
How will food delivery be updated in the ’20s? What will that mean for diet delivery meal plans, food ordering apps, and other home delivery services?
It’s already here. The additional element will be a more effective online grocery. (Note: The closure of Honestbee last April 2019 put a big blow to online grocery shopping. In the vein of other countries around the world, however, the Philippines has meal kit delivery services already at play.)
What liquor or spirit might people start appreciating more? Will people take to zero-proof cocktails, biodynamic wine, boozy teas, etc.?
Rum and mezcal will rule the early ’20s. Yes, you might have people wanting to do zero-proof cocktails, but I think, at the end of the day, the vast majority are still after that buzz. You’ll see the rise of zero-proof if you see the legalization of other substances.
What role will coffee play in cocktail and food culture? Is it still a big deal?
Coffee will continue to be a staple, and will create avenues for other concepts to enter. For example, I’m more likely to try a new pastry if I’m having it with my coffee.
Will there still be the same dependency on fast food?
No. We already saw a sharp fall-off in the late ’10s. People expect more from restaurants now.
Describe the past decade in three ingredients or recipes that really made a mark on food and beverage culture.
Coffee. Calamansi. Gin.
Describe the upcoming decade in three ingredients or recipes you predict will define food and beverage culture.
Sinigang. Churrasco. Mezcal.
All in all, there are a lot of things to look forward to in this decade. If this writer can also make a prediction, it would be to look out for the rise of ube and other Filipino ingredients across the globe. Pinterest reported a 76 percent spike in “Filipino desserts” search results during the last few months of 2019, and we can only look forward to seeing this archetypal Pinoy delicacy grace tables everywhere. As we did in ancient Rome, let us resolve to have a brighter and more optimistic future—and with hope these predictions, and more, will come to pass!