It’s official; Slow Food is enjoying growing popularity as more of us switch on to the benefits of local produce, artisan-made foods, traditional methods and the sheer power of knowing the story of the stuff we put on our plates.
According to Artisan Foods: Culinary Trend Mapping Report, a report from the US Center for Culinary Development and market research house Packaged Facts, the rise is down to a desire to go local, try new flavours, engage with food producers and to be eco-friendly. There is definitely a link in consumers minds between artisan foods and quality, says the report.
It’s great news, but it does bring with it a few notes of caution. The report shows how large supermarket chains are exploiting the trend by offering “artisan style” foods, such as rustic loafs and traditional-sounding store cupboard produce. Like green-wash, in which businesses from cheap flight operators to oil companies have attempted to wangle an eco angle to sell more products, it sounds like artisan-wash is flooding the US market now.
The trends highlighted in the report are the rising popularity of gastropubs, condiments, preserved foods and heirloom products which use traditional recipes, handmade ice creams, a return to traditional butchery, authentic artisan pizza, small and premium alcohol brands with new flavours and artisan American cheese.
The best way to go Slow is to not only know who’s making your food and how, but to trust where you are buying it from too. If you can’t buy from the maker direct, at least make sure the store you buy from is trading ethically, paying suppliers decently and not cynically exploiting the artisan trend.
Many larger stores are contributing positively by bringing artisan foods to a wider market, but the experience of buying from a supermarket is much less vibrant and personal than a trip to a local farmers market.
How do you feel about the report’s findings? Do you believe in artisan-wash? Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.