Oct 23, 2020 | By Hannah Manton
Big data meets consumer insights, Experience WGSN.
Claire Lancaster is a Strategist on the WGSN Food & Drink team. Prior to its creation, she was an Editor for WGSN Lifestyle & Interiors, where she looked after WGSN’s existing food and drink content.
Claire has previously worked in consumer insights and on editorial teams at NPR and the BBC World Service. She has lived in the US, Colombia, Spain and the UK, and holds a master’s degree in international journalism.
I caught up with Claire to find out her food and drink loves, talk about changes within the industry and to understand what trends we should keep an eye on going forward.
I think my eating style is definitely in line with some of the food trends we see as being more prevalent in my generation. I grew up in a globalised and digitally connected world, where I was exposed to culinary traditions and cuisines from all over. That’s definitely had an impact on my diet and how I cook and eat today – in my house, it’s Oaxacan one night and Vietnamese the next. I also went to university in a small town in Colorado when the American craft beer movement was absolutely exploding, so the timing there has definitely had an impact on my drinking preference!
It’s summer now, so I’d have to say fresh mango juice sprinkled with Tajin, a chilli, lime and sea salt seasoning, and a squirt of fresh lime juice. Sunshine in a bowl.
I’m excited about the shift towards plant-based diets and the rise of more sustainable and local food systems. What we consume has big implications for the planet. We know that avoiding or reducing meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce our environmental impact, but I think the idea of changing our diets can feel quite restrictive and unappealing at first, particularly for a foodie.
I love that as people are becoming more aware of the impact our food choices have on ourselves and the planet, we’re ushering in an era of cooking and thinking about ingredients that’s actually hugely expanding for our diets rather than limiting, from local and seasonal vegetables being treated with the same care and attention that was, until recently, reserved for meat or fish, to the rise of alternatives such as oat milk. I’m also really looking forward to seeing what happens next with things like vertical farming and cellular agriculture.
Is there a trend you’re particularly excited about going forward?
Another trend that’s hugely exciting to me in food today is the discussion around the history, culture and makers behind the dishes we enjoy. There’s a global power shift going on, with ideas such as decolonisation making global headlines, and you can really feel and taste it in the food scene.
Long-held assumptions about food excellence and the role of inherent bias in this valuation is being questioned, leading to a reshuffle of cuisine and ingredient values. A lot of this is being led by a new generation of chefs and producers who feel empowered to celebrate their roots, and I can’t wait to see where that takes us.
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