Unique culinary experiences continue to be a force that motivates people to travel. In 2017 emerging trends include edible artwork installations, brightly coloured Instagram ready foods, ever increasing food festivals, multisensory dining events and food journeys through hotels, cities and regions.

The Innovation Group, J. Walter Thompson’s futurism, research and innovation unit, charts emerging and future global trends, consumer change, and innovation patterns. Their 55-page Food + Drinks Trends and Futures 2017 report identifies seventeen emerging trends across product and experience, including Prescription Nutrition, “Insta-Serves” and Edible Artwork. The report offers an in-depth analysis of trends shaping experience dining and a breakout section on visual trends.

The following are some of the movements that involve the culinary traveller.

Food and Drink leads Retail Sales

The report noted that “Retail took a battering in early 2017 but food and drink sales are holding up well, as shoppers plough more dollars and pounds into experiences rather than consumer goods.”

It went on to say that the latest retail buzz is focused not on malls crammed with fashion boutiques, but on food. Chef and author Anthony Bourdain’s mega food market on Pier 57 in New York, slated for launch in 2019, will host more than 100 local food vendors. On the other side of the Atlantic, new joint venture London Union plans to open as many as 20 local markets tailored to different neighbourhoods across the British capital, with a permanent street food market pegged for 2017.

In Toronto, Adelaide Eats popped up in the downtown financial district in June and runs Monday to Friday until the end of July. The outdoor food oasis features about 15 local chefs, bakers, restaurants and artisanal food makers including Tacos 101, Chinmey Stax, District 28, Fish’d by Edo, Kaboom Chicken, La Fiesta, The Merchant Tavern, Momofuku, Ishtar, TO’s Finest Dessert Bar, Toben Food by Design and Wahlburgers.

Food Festivals are Booming

The London Evening Standard is tapping into the continued boom in food festivals in England with its first annual Food Month in June, a line-up of more than 400 events that reads like a who’s who of the culinary glitterati.

Taste Festivals runs foodie events in over 20 cities around the globe. Their Taste of Toronto held in June attracts about 25,000 food-loving visitors and brings together the city’s top chefs for the ultimate foodie experience. This year’s theme was Friends who Feast.

Healthy Eating is Hip

New food services are offering a healthy twist to “Meals on Wheels”. The latest such as Galley, based in Washington DC, offers meals containing between 600 and 800 calories, priced from $13 to $16, including tax, delivery, and gratuity. The company works with concierges in hotels around the city to reach the business traveller who wants to eat well while on the road.

I’ve noticed the room service in progressive hotels almost always now offer healthy alternatives such plant based dishes to the guests. Vegan restaurants are going high end such as Planta in Toronto and meat-free, plant-based burgers are appearing at hot spots such as David Chang’s New York Momofuku Nishi. (Mintel’s 2017 Protein Report: Meat Alternatives, shows that 36% of millennials are embracing meat alternatives, versus just 14% of baby boomers.)

Food and drink is the hottest social media currency

Pandering to today’s Foodstagramming era, food shops, bars and restaurants are serving up food and drink that begs to be photographed. Bright colours, crazy combos, stacked layers – whatever grabs the eye will also take the limelight. Think an entire roast chicken atop a Bloody Caesar, or bright purple ice cream, pink lattes, or “mermaid toast” topped with cream cheese swirled with chlorophyll drops and spirulina powder to create a dreamy blue-green ocean effect.

Multisensory Foods

Across the world, we are witnessing the rise of immersive, multisensory food and drink experiences. Culinary travel experiences have become the key driver for global tourism. More than two thirds (71%) of US millennials will recommend a destination based solely on cuisine, according to a survey commissioned by food company Harry & David last year. Some 82% of US respondents agree that they are most excited about trying local food and restaurants when travelling.

Netherlands-based Studio Appétit has partnered with Danish chocolatier Oialla to design Room Service, a collection of chocolates for curious hotel guests and travellers. Chocolates in the Flavour Exploration Club range are designed to be strategically placed in and around a hotel to take their recipients on “a sensorial journey.”

Food as Art and Art as Food

The Langham Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood collection that I enjoyed last year called upon Executive Pastry Chef, Cherish Finden to take inspiration from Wedgwood collections. She made beautiful works of delicate delectable art to eat. The ‘Butterfly Bloom’ for example featured a buttery shortbread tower with salted caramel with two hand crafted edible butterflies at its peak.

Steinbeisser Experimental Gastronomy is a series of events which fuse avant-garde design with gastronomy; different artists are invited to design the tableware and have responded with an array of materials including seaweed, earth and metals. At a 2016 event held in Amsterdam, contemporary jeweller Gabi Veit forced guests to rethink their table manners with an unconventional gold spoon covered in thorns.

Boba Room, an interactive 15-day exhibition focused on the popular Asian bubble tea, was held at the Open Space Gallery in New York’s Bowery neighborhood in spring 2017. Visitors were served beverages from brands from across the city, including Vivi Bubble Tea Tales LES, Tea and Milk, PaTea and Gong Cha.

Vancouver opened the one-night-only Edible Museum of Canadian Food and Wine in February 2017: a multi-sensory pop-up designed to guide visitors through Canada’s epicurean history. Guests were invited to delve into Canadian culinary and viticultural landscape while they sampled iconic foods and award-winning wines.

Other museums are building a reputation as dining destinations. Last year, restaurateur Danny Meyer earned two Michelin stars for The Modern, his restaurant in New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The Rijksmuseum In Amsterdam scooped a star in December 2016 for RIJKS, led by chef Joris Bijdendijk.

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The Netherlands is a small, densely populated country, a land of colourful tulip fields and canals, sophisticated cities and some of the most striking coastline in Northern Europe. The people, language, and culture of the Netherlands are referred to as "Dutch". At the head of the state sits the country's constitutional monarchy, whose palaces dominate many of the larger cities, including The Hague and the gorgeous capital city, Amsterdam. Its small size, welcoming attitude to travellers and many wonderful sights make it a unique and fairly easy to discover destination and a great addition to any European trip.

London, England

London, England

London – noisy, vibrant, diverse range of people, ideas and frenetic energy – is the capital and largest city of both England and of the United Kingdom. Considered one of the world's leading "global cities", the city remains an international capital of culture, arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research and development, tourism, and transport all contributing to its prominence. Today, among international tourists, London is the most visited city in the world!



Vancouver is a coastal city located in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in Canada; 52% of its residents have a first language other than English. Classed as a Beta global city, the city is well known for its majestic natural beauty, as it is nestled between the Coast Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. It is frequently ranked as one of the "best cities to live in" and is certainly a beautiful destination to visit.

New York City

New York City

New York City is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York metropolitan area. The city has a significant impact on global commerce, finance, media, culture, art, fashion, research, education, and entertainment. As host of the United Nations Headquarters, it is also an important center for international affairs. The city is often referred to as ''New York City'' or the ''City of New York'', to distinguish it from the state of New York, of which it is a part. Located on a large natural harbor on the Atlantic coast of the Northeastern United States, New York City consists of five boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. 



Toronto, a prominent centre for music, theatre, motion picture production, television production, is home to the headquarters of Canada's major national broadcast networks and media outlets. Its varied cultural institutions, which include numerous museums, festivals and public events, entertainment districts, national historic sites, and sports activities, are key attractions to the over 25 million tourists that visit the city every year.  Toronto is well known for its skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, in particular the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere, the CN Tower. As Canada's commercial capital, the city is home to the Toronto Stock Exchange, the headquarters of Canada's five largest banks, and the headquarters of many large Canadian and multinational corporations. Its economy is highly diversified with strengths in technology, design, financial services, life sciences, education, arts, fashion, business services, environmental innovation, food services, and tourism. Toronto is placed among the Global Leaders in the Global Financial Centres Index, and is also consistently rated as one of the world's most liveable cities by the Economist Intelligence Unit and the Mercer Quality of Living Survey.

Washington D.C.

Washington D.C.

Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, the District, or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States founded on July 16, 1790. The U.S. Constitution allows for the creation of a special district to serve as the permanent national capital. The District is therefore not a part of any U.S. state and is instead directly overseen by the federal government. Within the District, a new capital city was founded in 1791 and named in honor of George Washington. The City of Washington, along with Georgetown and outlying areas within the federal district, were placed under a single, unified government following an act of Congress in 1871. It is for this reason that the city, while legally named the District of Columbia, is known as Washington, D.C. The city shares its name with the U.S. state of Washington located on the country's Pacific coast.

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