London is a hive of ever-changing food trends. Food fashions which have swept over other epicentres of gastronomic relevance will eventually make their way to London, and right now the city is seeing a big wave of innovative food and drink products to meet the consumer demands of the market.
On 28th May 2014, online ticketing agent Billetto organised an intimate free event in the name of ‘10 Things You Need To Know About Cuisine In London’. It held tastings of local London producers and hosted seminars given by innovative industry insiders including prolific food blogger and supper club host Michelle Francis of London From Scratch and chef Ben Spalding who trained under the likes of Thomas Keller, Gordon Ramsay and Simon Rogan (to name just a few), who has gone on to run his own private catering company Creative Belly.
Amongst the local producers and businesses exhibiting, MASSIS tea is a newcomer that will undoubtedly capture the attention of tea drinkers, foodies and food journalists alike. MASSIS launched its first flagship store on Great Newport Street by Leicester Square tube station, the day before the Billetto event. MASSIS is aiming to ‘redefine the nation’s favourite drink’ bringing high quality loose leaf tea to the masses; a product which could only mostly be found in high end restaurants or independent tea cafés specialising in loose leaf.
What sets MASSIS apart however, is their invention of the Tey Latte. It is made using a machine of their own design and combines a strong ‘shot’ of tea with steamed milk to create a velvety smooth drink reminiscent of a café latte. MASSIS has brought the quality of tea to the fore, combining the British love for tea with the desire for barista style quality and skill.
Additionally, catering deli Babushka has found a way to bring together the UK’s new found adoration for Mexican food whilst catering for the gluten intolerant by using fresh, organic, local ingredients. The fillings are wrapped in thin and light pancakes made using gram and rice flour for their take on gluten-free burritos.
So why has the demand for ‘free-from’ foods increased? The Institute of Food Research has commented that it could be a combination of factors. The industry-wide use of processing foods has increased the presence of allergens, and the changing diets of the nation has seen gluten consumption increase to up to three times daily, much more than our ancestors used to eat. Additionally, self-diagnosis has also played a large part in why the rates of incidence appear to have increased.
Another possible reason for the growing market demand for ‘free-from’ foods might be due to the rise in people wanting to eat more healthily. With many more people cutting out processed foods from their diet and choosing ‘free-from’ products, the consumer demand has allowed new foodie start-ups to fulfill a niche market in which to launch their products, catering for the health conscious and those with ingredient specific intolerances.
Much like classic cocktails, sometimes a playful twist can be a welcome change and London appears to be showing its support for innovative products.
What are your thoughts on reinventing the classics?