Food in society and culture

Food, meals and food production are closely interwoven into our lives, society and culture. Here are some selected trends that describe
how food and society are connected and develop together.

You can read about one of the trends covered in the report here:

Hallyu, food from trending cultures

What is the next food country? This is a recurring question that we have examined. Sometimes the question has been more specific: which country is the next Mexico? In the hope of being “first on the ball” the next time a strong trend like tacos gets under way. In this situation, the search for the new food country has crossed so many boundaries that it is hard to pick a winner. One variation has been to look at cities like Marrakesh, Kyoto,

Toronto, New York, Lima, San Francisco and San Sebastian.

A place that is often mentioned as an influential food country is South Korea. Interest in Korean food grew by as much as 90% between 2021 and 2022. This international spread of Korean culture has been called Hallyu –the “Korean Wave”.

Although kimchi has not become a popular dish to the extent that South Korea may have wished, Korean YouTubers and a general interest in Korean culture mean that anything that comes from Korea has a greater chance of making it. It is hard to say which dishes are typical; it could be any kind of street food that suddenly entices millions of viewers.

Food seems to be more closely linked to a country’s general cultural status and progress. South Korea is a clear example of this. K-Pop is a popular category on Spotify, while South Korean ideals of beauty don’t just inspire Chinese people but have also spread to the West. South Korean engineering leads the world in many areas, Gangnam Style was a big hit on YouTube, and Korean film and TV producers achieved great success with Squid Game and Parasite.

It is clear that food is part of this general cultural influence. Before it hosted the 2014 World Cup, many people thought that Brazil might experience an economic upturn. Instead, the country experienced a major downturn, and Brazilian food was nowhere to be seen. South Korea, on the other hand, is one of the countries that has gained momentum.

And success is not a matter of chance. Many countries are consciously engaging in gastrodiplomacy.