Food As Medicine - The Rise Of Wellness Gastronomy
Updated: Apr 1, 2020
Health and wellness have become a significant factor in every-day decisions, such as the purchase of electronic gadgets, cosmetics, food and travel. In the US, health officials even called on hospitals to leave processed meat out of their meals.
As people develop more food sensitivities and have a rising disposable income, the market for restaurants offering specialty diets and wellness-cuisine is growing. Another reason for the growth in demand for wellness-food is that consumers want their visit to a restaurant or wellness-retreat to change their health for the better and give them inspiration on how to eat healthier at home.
As a result, 51% of chefs in the United States added vegan items to their menus in 2018, according to a study by food industry insight company Foodable Labs and conversations among food influencers are showing a 78.4% increase in plant-based topics over the last year, indicating a very clear culture shift.
Many plant-based chefs are seen as trend-setters or mentors and have substantial social media followings.
As an increasing number of people adopt plant-based diets around the world, they look to celebrity chefs and educators for guidance on how to optimize their diet to achieve a healthy lifestyle.
Matthew Kenney is an American celebrity chef and developer of vegan restaurant brands around the world, as well as Matthew Kenney Culinary, a plant-based education company.
Upstairs in the Venice, CA location of his Plant Food + Wine restaurant, he teaches students how to “craft the future of food”: the benefits of whole, organic, unprocessed and
plant-based food on body and soul.
His blog features articles that show the benefit of a plant-based diet such as “How an MKC partner healed stage 2 Breast Cancer through plants” or “plant based face masks for every complexion”.
Pictures: Matthew Kenney Cuisine, Plant Food+Wine
Jennifer Jewett, the founder and executive chef of Citizen Sprout in LA, takes a more local approach on educating about honest food, by delivering to select schools throughout Los Angeles, offering little ones a rotating, seasonal menu of lunches made with hormone- and antibiotic-free proteins and local and organic produce. Her goal is to introduce children to nutritious and healthy food at an early age.
At her restaurant, Jennifer and her team serve fresh, inventive, healthy lunches and dinners from scratch. Ready-made salads, smoothies, soups and bowls can be picked up, or ordered online.
Ruth Tal is the founder of Fresh Restaurants in Canada, and an advocate for juicing to reboot your immune system, energize and cleanse your body.
She launched a collection of cold pressed juices, which are locally made by hand.
The Fresh restaurant in LA flourishes with its vegan "nonvegan food". Quinoa onion rings, buffalo cauliflower, and panko squash tacos—all served on Fresh’s house-made sauces: jalapeño chipotle crema “mayo” or mushroom gravy. The 100% plant-based menu offers a great balance of light, healthy dishes as well as vegan soul food.
Ella is an entrepreneur in the UK with a plant-based food product range and a resource to help people live a healthy lifestyle, through plant-based nutrition.
Ella’s initial goal was to share the benefits, her and her husband had experienced from plant-based living. This evolved over time into her line of breakfast cereals, oat bars, frozen meals and energy balls, which are sold in around 6,000 stores across the UK and Ireland, from Waitrose to Starbucks, Tesco, Whole Foods and lots more.
All her products can be found on a recipe app, in her deli in London and a series of cookbooks, all loved by her substantial social media community of 1.7m followers on Instagram only. In that community, Ella shares daily updates on plant-based recipes as well as insight on physical and mental well-being.
What was once a niche market has become so mainstream that big brands have been forced to create new products.
Over the last decade, the UK showed an increase of 360 % in people who stick to a vegan diet.
The U.S. organic market in 2018 broke through the $50 billion mark for the first time, with sales hitting a record $52.5 billion, up 6.3% from the previous year, according to the 2019 Organic Industry Survey. Organic food sales reached $47.9 billion, an increase of 5.9%.
Wellness tourism is now the fastest-growing segment in the travel industry, driven by travellers aspirations for a wellness lifestyle. Wellness tourism grew at a healthy rate of 6.5 percent every year since 2015, twice as fast as the tourism industry as a whole (3.2%). In 2017, travellers took 830 million wellness trips – 139 million more than in 2015. Source: Delos
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