Issue No.14 — F&B Part 2

01 of 06
October 2022

F&B Part 2 reports on the evolving role of food and drink experiences in shaping travel and community connections

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INSIGHT

Food is increasingly becoming the focal point of the travel experience as consumers prioritise new destinations and experiences that bring them closer to the local history and culture of an area.

In fact, culinary tourism is forecast to grow at a CAGR of almost 17% from 2022 to 2032, rivalling global wellness tourism which is expected to see an annual growth rate of almost 21% in 2020-25.

Research from the University of Oxford has long shown that communal eating boosts social bonding, wellbeing, and contentedness, helping people feel happier, more satisfied with their lives and closer to their community.

At the local level, small-scale food enterprises and community-based supply chains play a vital role in bolstering the resilience of domestic food systems and public health. The GFS-FSR (The Resilience of the UK Food System in a Global Context) research program advocates for increased investment in community-scale food providers to enhance resilience.

As the cost of living crisis deepens, food is also being leveraged to alleviate some of its impact and bring people together, with social enterprises, like Cook for Good setting up community hubs, and employers like John Lewis and Waitrose, opting to provide free meals to employees across its entire operation this Christmas.

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Paragon by Modern Adventure – courtesy of Modern Adventure

Modern Adventure

STRATEGY

F&B concepts are creating spaces and experiences that actively encourage guests to connect with others, providing a credible window into the stories and culture they are championing.

London-based Mriya showcases Ukraine’s classic and contemporary food, drink, and art, with the aim to become a ‘cultural embassy’ of their home in the UK.

Dinner Party in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, is a neighbourhood restaurant and a queer creative community hub. The living room inspired space mostly consists of communal tables, encouraging guests to talk to strangers and meet other locals following the isolation of the pandemic. Dept of Culture in Brooklyn offers a Nigerian tasting menu inspired by the owner Ayo Balogun’s native Kwara State and is accompanied by stories about the origin of the dishes around a single communal table for 12 guests.

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Mriya’s take on borscht - courtesy of The Guardian


Raising £6 million in its latest funding round, DELLI is a marketplace for local, independent makers that celebrates creativity and experimentation through limited batch product drops with the grassroot producers and their stories behind the products an integral part of the sell. 

Paragon by Modern Adventure creates luxurious culinary travel experiences for small groups. Each trip is designed and led by a ‘cultural luminary’ and offers an in-depth exploration of the local culture and culinary traditions. This includes private dining at exclusive restaurants, behind-the-scenes tours of cultural and culinary institutions, and the meeting of artists and craftspeople. A proportion of the revenue from each trip is donated to local causes and organisations selected by the luminaries as a way of safeguarding those communities in the future.

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Two Hot Asian’s hot sauces – courtesy of DELLI

DESIGN

Food enterprises and hospitality brands are designing spaces and experiences that help their audiences connect with each other, while also creating opportunities for local communities.

When converting a vacant supermarket into Nourish Hub, a community kitchen and mixed-used work and educational space for UK Harvest, RCKa ran a series of pop-up activities as part of its public consultation process.

The process saw local adults and children participating in painting murals, creating graphic designs for interiors and branding, and sharing ideas for the future use of the space. The project won multiple awards for its role in bringing its local community together and fighting social isolation.

Design can also elevate communities and cultures through a contemporary and considered reinterpretation.

Recently reopened, The Africa Centre in London is a celebration of pan-African culture and community, featuring a new restaurant led by chef Akwasi Brenya-Mensa, formerly of the supper club Tatale. Reflecting Akwasi's culinary vision, the design process brought together African artists and designers to create raw, expressive interiors that weave together elements of African craft and futurism, telling a captivating story of cultural richness and innovation.

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Tatale at The Africa Centre – courtesy of Felix Speller