We live in a society where everybody wants everything, all of the time! We want to look like super models, our doctors to pat us on the back because we have low cholesterol whilst we chomp down on that hipster burger like Adam Richman from Man v Food.
Consumers have created a new way of being and this my friends is what we call, the healthy hedonist philosophy. Picture a guy with a Diet Coke and pecan pie. The trend that we are seeing is that in the earlier part of the week much of the working population and families are focused on healthy eating, taking in the right amount of fruit and veg combined with some regular exercise. This dramatically changes come Thursday where people feel they are entitled to a treat creating a situation where they completely indulge in stodgy foods and alcoholic beverages. This makes for a really interesting dining culture where any healthy eating is offset with culinary profligacy for the lead up to and during the weekend.
Restaurant operators have adapted their menus and offerings to suit this, so with many operators doing well in the early part of the week tending to serve cold fresh juices and health bars, whereas on the weekends the burger bars have queues literally running around the block. Within restaurant menus we are also seeing a tendency for healthier starters followed by more indulgent main courses and desserts. This system has been exemplified by the rise of the tapas and pinxo bar working particularly well for menus including sharing platters, where the psychology is to encourage consumption of lots of smaller dishes where you end up eating less. Although it is possible that this is actually an illusion whereby the food served is more calorific and can even end up less cost effective for the consumer.
We believe that we will continue to see healthier concepts coming in to the market but they will always contain a twist of hedonism, turning to some kind of fried or alcoholic element. What would the original creators of sushi think of western world’s destruction of an originally clean living dish? Philistines. But we love it.