SA food trends 2023: Technology, fusion and plant-based leading the way

January 16, 2023

How would you describe the current food scene in South Africa?

  • Drive to source ingredients from local farmers and producers
  • Spicy flavours in curries paired with artisanal breads and fresh salad sides
  • Build your own salad bars allows you to select to your specific preferences and offers the enjoyment of creating your own meal. Incorporating fun ingredients to choose from like dried onion crisps creates excitement while maintaining your chosen eating plan.
  • Juice bars packs a nourishing punch on the go, this has been an effortless way to get your “5 fruits and veggies” a day in.
  • Local African Cuisine with different meats served with samp/ maize meal
  • Charcoaled fruit and veg pushing the limits of your traditional braai. South Africans love cooking over a fire and are experimenting with cooking fruit and even lettuce over flames.
  • Sharing boards (Bread, cheese, and biltong platters)
  • More appetite for meat free alternatives
  • The events scene has come back in full swing after years of being isolated, events have now picked up allowing people to celebrate and reconnect over tasty appetizers and creative drinks.

What do you think will be some of the biggest food trends in SA this year?

  • Plant-based food including Plant-based Pasta, Vegan eggs etc. (New buzz word = Reducetarian)
  • Huge emphasis on locally sourced ingredients
  • Fusion cuisine – Local flavours with global food influence
  • Food as medicine -Moringa/ Tumeric
  • Upcycling food waste – Turning food scraps in soups, overripe fruit into jams, sauces
  • Mushrooms in more dishes- (More versatility – Powders for flavour and meat free alternative)
  • Dates – Syrups and sweeteners for deserts/ sauces/ hot drinks. Sugar free baking and vegan goods
  • Cold brew coffee
  • Artisanal butter/cheese boards
  • Sweet and Spicy combined dishes (Buzz word “Swicy”). Spicy perceived as healthier (reducing inflammation etc.)
  • Salad and juice bars (Kombucha)
  • Alcohol free cocktails – Fizzy Water revolution
  • Grab and go innovative sandwiches, focusing on nutritious alternatives to your regular cheese sandwich
  • Online ordering and food delivery services

How do you think the food scene has evolved in the country over the past few years?

  • Dark kitchens, also known as delivery kitchens or virtual kitchens.
  • Robotic Kitchens – More automation in Food equipment.
  • Increase interest in local/ sustainable and organic foods
  • More diverse and inclusive offerings
  • More specialty diets like gluten-free, vegan etc.
  • Increased Sustainability – Upcycling and reducing food waste

How do you think the Covid-19 pandemic impacted and influenced food trends in SA?

  • There are a few new trends that have emerged from the pandemic. Hybrid working has increased the popularity in coffee shops. More variation in coffee options i.e., cold brew. Coffee shops are seen as collaboration hubs for individuals.
  • Plant-based meals have become an option that more people now choose to live a healthier lifestyle. The market has increased with more affordable, ready-to-cook plant-based meal options.
  • Ready to cook meals – Flexibility and cost effective
  • Baked Goods – baking was very popular during the pandemic as people experimented with different recipes. This will continue as people try new creative recipes as food blogging has become a ‘thing’
  • Health and organic food options have become more popular as people are becoming more conscious about their health.

In your opinion, how does SA as a food destination set itself apart from other countries and regions? What do you think makes us so unique?

  • The numerous ethnic and cultural cuisines of South Africa offer a wide range of mouth-watering dishes. There are so many distinct ethnic groups, languages, and traditions in South Africa, the cuisine options vary greatly among the provinces.
  • Culinary Fusion of numerous cultural influences, including Dutch, Indian, African and Cape Malay.

Whatever your taste, whether it is pap, samp, braai vleis, a spicy curry, seafood, or a simple cheese board you will undoubtedly find something great to enjoy as a result of the blending of the various cultural influences.

Our website uses cookies

Third-party cookies enable this website to function properly. By closing this message and continuing to use this website, you agree to having cookies stored in your browser. You can view our Privacy Policy here.