Food Trucks & Destination Development

While the US Food Truck culture is way more mature than in Australia, this infographic highlights and implies some perhaps lesser known benefits of encouraging food truck businesses to begin life in your city or destination.

Hungry Millennials

Millennials represent almost 50% of food truck patrons. If you are in a university city or a have a growing millennial population, this is the perfect vehicle by which to satisfy their desire for variety, health, innovation, gourmet, fast, value-for-money food and keep them from going out of town to scratch that itch.

Food Trucks Survive and Thrive by Social Media

Social media is the marketing tool of choice for food trucks. This means if your city or destination struggles to get leverage or exposure in this space or with millennials, hosting and making food truck vendors welcome, is a pathway to ‘social mention by stealth.’

Intense Competition Drives Innovation

The food truck market is highly competitive. This means they seek and utilise less common cuts of meat and more sustainable fish varieties in their efforts to keep costs down. Food truck owners build relationships with suppliers and growers in their eternal search for fresh and cost effective seasonal fare. They source and create unique condiments and spices, especially valuable if those condiments and spices are sourced from the multicultural import businesses in your city.

Vibrant Cities with Activation and Engagement

Food Trucks help to add buzz, colour and vibrancy to the look and feel of your destination especially if your city infrastructure is looking a little shabby. 55% of Food Truck income is from street site or corners. If you are going through a period of major construction – industrial and construction work sites represent 15% of Food Truck income in the US.

Good for Children

They produce mindful, innovative and fun options for children and generally offer foods which are less processed. Children will eat something green if it is from a food truck.

Make it Easy

Make it easy for them to begin life in your city. They will source their produce and supplies close to home and even if they range far and wide, the income they earn comes back to benefit your community.

Viktoria Darabi is a Food Culture Tourism Whisperer and champion for the power of food culture activities to celebrate multi-culturalism, promote social cohesion, engender a sense of community pride and to transform or construct ‘place’ to define a destination’s identity and distinctiveness.

Crocodile Pate Anyone? Eating Our History – Back to the Future

Sharing forgotten tastes, lost techniques, rediscovering and reinventing some of Australia’s culinary treasures is a great way to share our food culture with new settlers and tourists alike.

Many bemoan the fact we do not have a pure Australian cuisine to share with the world. The fact is there are very few ‘pure’ cuisines. They are the result of geography, climate, politics, economics, industry and transport, blended with the influence of traders, invaders, migrants and travellers over the centuries. The variety, freshness and invention in our fused cuisine is a most powerful tourism selling proposition, borne out by the success of Tourism Australia’s Restaurant Australia campaign.

Jacqui Newling is an alumna of the Master of Gastronomic Tourism (Le Cordon Bleu and Southern Cross University). Her research and passion resulted in her becoming resident gastronomer for Sydney Living Museums and a much loved author and speaker on Australia’s historic gastronomy.

Here I have shared a few interesting and perhaps lesser known tidbits from her 2015 book, ‘Eat Your History: Stories and Recipes from Australian Kitchens’. As I read her book, it was apparent how much of a renaissance we are experiencing with our traditions – especially with open flame cooking, foraging, game, preserves, artisanal breads and dampers, charcuterie and the use of native ingredients.


As an island nation, seafood has never gone out of fashion and is still key to our culinary identity. While the indigenous aboriginals enjoyed fish roasted over an open flame, the settlers preferred it boiled. Anglo-Indian Kedgeree, Seafood Chowder, Oyster Loaves and Eel baked or prepared ‘roll mop’ style where enjoyed, while fish and chips first appeared in cities around the 1890’s.


Foraging for native fruits and greens became essential when scurvy hit the new settlers. They discovered wild celery, warrigal greens, wild sorrel, brush cherries (lilli pilli) and wild hibiscus (rosella). Rosella and Lilli Pilli make for excellent jams. Native sarsaparilla leaf was used for tea making until 1792 when regular imports of Chinese tea began.


Kangaroo and wallaby tails were considered superior to oxtail and used for rich soups, stews and in the 19th century for Anglo-Indian curries. Kangaroo Steamer and Jugged Wallaby were the equivalent of the English Jugged Hare. Some steamer recipes were more like ragout, casserole or savoury mince but kangaroo was always mixed with pork to add some fat to the lean kangaroo meat.

Game Fowl

Emu was highly valued by the First Fleet, but wild duck, quail, brush turkey and wonga pigeons were more common table birds. Brush turkey and wonga pigeons are protected species today. Early 20th century cookbooks describe stuffing birds with “breadcrumbs seasoned with lemon zest and herbs, rolling in flour, laying them in pie dish on a bed of bacon and filling any gaps with hard-boiled egg and stock, before covering in pastry and baking in a slow oven.”


When James Ruse, our first farmer, announced himself ‘off the stores’ (not using government rations), he was granted 30 acres by the governor who named it ‘Experiment Farm.’ Ruse proved that small settler farms were viable and went on to grow a plethora of fruit and vegetables including the New World tomato. By the end of the 19th century tomato chutneys were enjoyed used with meat, cheese, a ploughman’s lunch or kangaroo burger. A Baked Carrot Pudding recipe from Beeton’s 1863 cookbook was served cold, a light alternative to fruitcake.

Fruit & Preserves

Early 19th century diners enjoyed bananas, custard apples, figs, guavas, loquats, melons, peaches and apples. So plentiful were peaches that not only were they made into cider, but pigs were fattened on the dropped and fermented fruits in the orchard. A Peachy Pork recipe from 1904 celebrates this delicious marriage. Seasonal fruits and vegetables were preserved using Fowler’s Vacola kits. Old recipes for summer barley waters from oranges and lemons and vinegar cordials from raspberries might even provide inspiration for the experimental mixologists of today.


Wheat was difficult to grow in Sydney soil and there was inadequate milling equipment to grind it so even at the governor’s table the invitations were always inscribed with “bring your own bread.” The Hawkesbury had more success growing wheat and the first windmills came to Sydney in 1797. White flour was graded finest, while the heavier coarser grinds with some wholemeal retained was graded lowest. Coal cooked dampers appeared in the 1820’s while in the cities bread was free form baked until 1830 when baking tins came on the market. Bread Sauces and ‘Charlottes’ were popular and bread rolls were hollowed out and used instead of pastry and filled with oysters or mushrooms. Christmas pudding recipes sometimes contained bread crumbs rather than flour.


Beef was spiced, salted, or corned and whole beasts were spit roasted for celebrations served with gin and strong beer. Raised pies were made with stout, suet pastry and filled with beef, mutton, goat or rabbit. Goats were primarily used for milking. Large cuts of mutton were boiled up to the 1930’s and served with rich milk based parsley or buttery caper sauces. Meat was presented as a soufflé or quenelles by steaming and boiling fine textured meatloaf or meatballs and serving with a béchamel style sauce.

Pork was dry cured with salt, pickled in brine or smoked. Trimmings and left overs were cooked up with the heads to make brawn. Nothing was wasted. Pickled or cured beef tongue was popular and sheep heads were braised, sautéed, boiled or made into soups. Brains, sweetbreads, kidneys, livers and trotters were all valued. Reserved for the finest society tables, jellies were made using boiled calves feet and took hours to produce until commercial gelatine became available in the 1840s.


Eggs were enjoyed as we do today, soft and hard boiled, poached, scrambled, scotched and made into sweet and savoury omelettes. Custards and fruit curds were enriched with egg yolks and whites used for meringues and snows. Before the rotary beater, whisking egg whites to stiff peaks took up to an hour of beating with a switch of cleaned twigs bound together. There were many eggless alternative recipes created during the Great Depression and wartime rationing.


Milk prepared in domestic dairies was processed to provide, cream, butter, buttermilk and cheese. Ice cream churns of the 1840s were developed along similar principles to the electric models of today, but relied on the availability of ice and coarse salt. Cream was used in syllabubs and rarebit, simple cheeses used in Regency cheesecakes and fondues that were really soufflés. While the French use lard or duck fat for confit or rillettes as a method to preserve meats, early settlers ‘potted‘ cheeses, cold cooked meats, shellfish, anchovies or mushrooms with assorted herbs and spices pouring clarified butter over to fill the gaps and prevent spoilage. These same fillings pounded with fresh cold butter were used to make a poor man’s pâté.

Native Foods

Native foods were eaten at formal banquets, evidenced in menus of the 19th century. They fell out of fashion in the early 20th century being associated with poverty and uncouth ‘bushies’. In the 1980’s there was a resurgence of interest in native foods among a small group of providores and restauranteurs. Again we are experiencing a resurgence in foraging and native foods with lemon myrtle, bush tomatoes, quandong (desert peach) and finger limes available from specialist providores.

Jock Zonfrillo’s foundation launches new Native Food Partnership

Registered Clubs – Finding, Crafting & Articulating Your ‘Taste of Place’

The chef committed to science is more responsive to the praise given by his patron than to the handful of gold that he might receive from him.
Chef’s Table, Marie Antonin Carème – L’art, 1833

A club’s raison d’être is primarily to benefit the community and contribute to its connectedness. There is of course a financial imperative to provide food and beverage services in a profitable manner, but now there is a social imperative to provide an experience around that food and drink to differentiate your offerings from others and provide a ‘taste of place.’

What is Taste of Place?

  • visitation that is centred on food and wine culture
  • ‘take away with you’ product offerings
  • food that tells the story of the heritage, the people, reflects place and enriches experiences
  • a valuable tool to boost economic, social and community development
  • an experience which offers both locals and tourists alike an authentic ‘taste of place’ or sense of your club’s ‘terroir’
  • …an experience where one learns about, appreciates, and or consumes food or drink that reflects  the local or regional cuisine, heritage culture, tradition or culinary techniques…

For small to mid-size clubs who perhaps do not have the financial means for dramatic refurbishments, taste of place activities are cost effective tactics to market their club and create deeper connections.

For large innovator clubs who are continually looking for ways to match their décor and food experiences to their changing demographic, the question is “what and where to next?” Taste of place extends their gastronomic assets and enhances their gastronomic capital.

Taste of place can play a role in repositioning long-held perceptions of club food and hospitality in people’s minds. Leveraging these strategies creatively will provide innovative taste of place activities to capture the hearts, minds and stomachs of their communities.

Begin at the Beginning

For culinary moderns, society changes and cuisine should follow suit.

Start by looking at the latest demographic profile of your catchment which is available at This site allows you to research your community’s demographic profile by suburb and council area on many different levels including: population forecasting, ethnicity, household/individual income, stage of life/service age groups, occupations and household structures, languages spoken at home and much more. This will help you build a picture of how the community your club serves has changed and what it looks like today. The latest 2016 Census data is now available.

Many local council websites have information or resources on the demographics, history, heritage, tourist attractions, business mix and community events, activities and classes for various age/interest groups. By discovering what services your council offers and links to, you can get some insight into what the community has deemed important.

Most local councils have a library or libraries with a wealth of local historic resources. They have a variety of activities and events which relate to the demographics and needs of the area and usually have historical collections for local studies and family history. Some have oral histories recordings which may shed light on historical agriculture and significant dishes that were cooked in the past. They may have copies of locally produced cookbooks from the area which will give some insight into historic foods and favourite dishes.

Your region’s historical society may undertake research on your behalf for free or for a modest fee. You might like to research historic agriculture, cookbooks, recipes or infamous or famous characters and photos from your region to build a story around a dish the chef has designed or a dining theme. Interestingly, in the case of the Hills District Historical Society, in 1974 its museum was established in the basement of the former RSL Club.

Do you have printed or electronic historical recipes, menus or photos of dishes, tables or special gustatory events? These pieces of ephemera will shine a light on what your patrons have enjoyed in the past and may provide inspiration for current chefs to reinvent these dishes for their modern clientele. These dishes come complete with your own taste of place back story. Better still, interview and visually record your oldest patron’s memories of their earliest days and dining at the club.

Your clubs’ database of members from registration, online newsletter sign ups, Facebook or Twitter followers provide you with lists which you can survey for information about your food and beverage offerings. Online surveys are easy to design in Survey Monkey’s free software and links to the survey can be inserted into your Twitter page, Facebook Page, online newsletter or printed and posted or handed to your older patrons to complete.

Food and Drink Narratives

The power of crafting an engaging narrative around your food and drink was driven home to me just last weekend as I volunteered at the joint Feather & Bone/Slow Food Sydney stall at historic Rouse House’s Autumn Harvest Festival.

Artisanal Butchers, Feather and Bone were selling Ark of Taste Bull Boar Sausages on artisanal sourdough with chutney. The An Historic Sausage narrative went something like this:

“Good morning, madam. Are you contemplating our Bull Boar Sausages? (Big smile) These are no ordinary sausage. They are a unique recipe in danger of extinction. They were created by the Italian-speaking Swiss immigrants in Victoria’s goldfields around 1850. They contain organic beef and pork marinated for three days in garlic infused red wine with added Christmas spices providing a fulsome aromatic sausage. We are serving today on artisanal sourdough with a bold, spiced, apple chutney for $5.00. So this is an historic sausage.”

We sold a lot of Bull Boar Sausages with this narrative. What narratives can you craft around your food and drink from local and club geography, history, characters and culture?

Celebrate Your Celebrities

This taste of place technique is about building a narrative around your chefs and mixologists. What are their cultural stories? What foods and food related issues do they care about? What do they make from scratch or do that is unique? Can they share their recipes or highlight their favourite local growers or producers? Can you encourage a talented local photographer to photograph your chef for Fairfax’s annual Shoot the Chef photo competition? Elevating your chefs and mixologists to celebrity status starting within the walls of the club can pay off in many ways – not the least of which is your local press and social media exposure.

Carème (1783 -1833) the inventor of French cuisine, named his dishes by ingredients and basic preparation method e.g. shrimp bisque. The variations where named using honorific individual achievement, geographical or historical names. Shrimp bisque for example comes à la française, à la Cornieille, à l’amiral de Rigny, à la princess, au chasseur, à la regence and à la royale.

Jamie’s Italian Trattoria in Parramatta is modern example of branded cuisine. His dishes are his take on his favourite Italian dishes. In his menu, he honours his mentor Gennaro Contaldo and he gives a contemporary nod to his British heritage by using unmistakably English expressions such as the full monty. Adriano Zumbo ‘signs’ his dessert creations with a small edible ‘az’ disk. What dishes could you design and brand after the local geography or history, honorifically after the chef, club’s founders, local food heroes, known characters from the club’s history or present day?

Masterclasses, pairing and food and drink appreciation events gain chefs and mixologists priceless marketing exposure. With the growing interest in Australian-made gins, what food pairing event could you create to highlight your chef’s talents and your mixologists gin knowledge? What ticketed masterclasses could your chef present in club to showcase his talents and become a culinary hero to those who entertain at home? Think cold oil spherification, gold leafing, chocolate and sugar work decorations and garnishes, multi-cultural desserts, elegant meals from cheaper cuts of meat or fermented foods – dishes and tips to impress their families and friends.

Ride the Trends

Carème’s genius, his “invention” of French Cuisine lay in the way he capitalised on and magnified trends – well in evidence.

It is not ‘selling out’ or ‘taking the easy road’ to hitch your star to a food or drink trend. In fact, it is good business sense and contributes substantially to taste of place when chef’s put their unique twist on the trend. Leverage this concept for a ticketed food event around a classic or new foodie film.

What’s your chef’s take on Babette’s Savarin au Rhum avec des Figues et Fruits Glacées?

Registered Clubs & Co-working Spaces – A Marriage Made in Heaven

Clubs – A great place to play…

A great place to work in the gig economy.

The Gig Economy and the Future of Work

More and more workers, especially Gen Y are moving away from a 9 to 5 routine. Those workers who are unable to secure full time employment in a challenging labour market have turned to freelancing from necessity. This seismic shift to freelancing has increased the demand for flexible and diverse work and working space options.

This mode of work has grown in line with the online freelancing platforms like UberFood, Airtasker, Airbnb, Freelancer, Air Events Global and Deliveroo. More of this current generation will end up being freelancers, contractors or contingent workers than ever before. Careers are now shaped by working task-by-task for different employers concurrently.

Australia’s gig economy does not figure in employment figures yet, but according to US trends, one third of the national workforce currently participates in contingent work and more than 3 in 4 employers believe that it will be the norm for people to pick up extra work through job related websites or apps.

In this table, Gig 1 refers to independent contractors, consultants and freelancers, Gig 2 refers to all Gig 1 workers plus temp-agency workers and on-call workers and Gig 3 (the broadest measurement) includes all Gig 2 workers plus contract company workers.

In Australia, the largest freelance category is web, mobile and software development (44 percent), followed by design and creative (14 per cent), customer and admin support (13 percent), sales and marketing (10 per cent) and writing (8 per cent). Data revealed that 4.1 million Australians, or 32 per cent of the workforce had freelanced between 2014-2015.

The Rise of Co-working Spaces

Alongside the growth of the freelance economy has been the rise of co-working spaces: working environments where individual professionals work on separate projects in a communal setting. Removed is the isolation contingent workers can feel by housing a collective of passionate and driven freelancers. Connecting with similar-minded people facing similar challenges provides valuable opportunities to innovate. Co-working networks can lead to the formation of valuable business relationships such as investors, partners, mentors or boards of advisors.

The popularity of co-working spaces is such that there has been a rapid growth both in the number and variety of them worldwide. Studies have shown co-working spaces have doubled each year globally since 2006. In 2012 the number of co-working spaces in Australia increased by 156 per cent.

The Creative Fringe

In 2014 in Penrith on Sydney’s western outskirts, Debbie O’Connor launched The Creative Fringe offering private offices, desk hire, meeting rooms, training rooms and venue hire. Debbie explains her concept: “Our coworkers assist each other in delivering solutions, as well as providing inspiration and education. We provide an open plan office space ready for collaboration and brainstorming – were our members can create and leverage off one another. To learn. To be inspired – for a day, a week, a month or a year.”

WeWork’s Australian Co-working Spaces

WeWork was a concept launched in the US in 2010 and they now have two spaces in development in Melbourne and in Sydney, spaces in Pyrmont and Martin Place with the George Street location opening soon. They offer private offices, dedicated desks or hot desks. They describe their locations as “the smartly designed workspace of your dreams. Located in some of the city’s most sought-after locations, we put you in historic buildings close to government offices, corporate headquarters, and important locations like the new International Convention Centre. These spaces are perfect for meeting with clients, making valuable connections in your field, or planning team events.”

Restaurant by Night – Co-working Space By Day

A little black dress goes from day wear to night wear with the addition of a few clever accessories. Spacious in New York saw that restaurants which were closed during the day could be transformed into an affordable network of co-working spaces and makes them accessible for US$95 per month.

Their ‘workspaces reimagined’ advantages were obvious. Their proposition: “host meetings in well-appointed social space or rent a private room. Make a great impression with clients and co-workers or walk in, take a seat, and start working with fast wi-fi and work-friendly music lets you stay connected and productive or recharge with plenty of outlets for all your devices, free coffee, tea, water and snacks for you and your guests.”

When you arrive at a Spacious location you simply enter your phone number at the kiosk check-in and they text you a wi-fi password and another one an hour before dinner service begins. They also offer free one week trials.

Two Space has launched this concept in Australia with four locations available in Sydney with five more due to launch, one location in Melbourne, with one more due to open there and one to come in Adelaide. Two Space offers Partner Addons in the form of hot desking spaces, meeting rooms, member perks and a Meet Industry Leaders option. They have free trials, individual access for $169 per month and team packages available.

A No Brainer for Clubs…

Successful and sustainable co-working and hot desking spaces offer:

  • variety of venues in a variety of locations
  • check-in facilities
  • well-appointed spaces to impress clients
  • fast wi-fi
  • plentiful power outlets
  • private meeting rooms
  • free coffee, tea, water and snacks
  • casual spaces to connect during the working day
  • spaces to socialise after the working day
  • dedicated co-worker happy hour
  • no strings attached
  • exclusive event access
  •  one week free trials
  •  Community Managers

I challenge clubs to re-imagine any ‘dis’ or under-used meeting rooms, empty or under-used day time restaurant spaces, take a new leap and build even stronger communities around work, food and play.

Australian Registered Clubs – Destinations for ‘Gastrodiplomacy’​


If travelling is an act of freedom in times of uncertainty and growing protectionism, then travelling for food culture experiences is ‘gastrodiplomacy’ at its best.

Hearts and minds won through the stomach is a much more emotional and engaging way to construct a narrative of understanding and social cohesion amongst diverse cultures. To my mind, the social history and unique assets of Australian registered clubs make them powerhouses of possibilities.

Food is Changing How People Travel

We know tourists plan entire vacations around food and registered clubs can leverage this trend for their best interests. In fact food culture ranks third after cultural and nature motives. While Noma has proven that you can build a global community around a restaurant, you don’t have to be a Noma pop-up to build community around a club for travellers looking for authentic experiences and connections with the surrounding community. What better place to do that than in a registered club which holds the social and cultural story of its community within the fabric of its walls and the memories of its patrons?

As more travelers have realised that dining is truly an experience in itself, more restaurants and destinations are pursuing innovation and creating unique dining experiences. More international travelers choose destinations based on food, restaurants and fresh produce. Australian clubs offering innovative food activities and events are primed to meet this demand. What better place to take ‘Visiting Friends and Relatives’ than to your club to show off the chef’s latest food culture fusion creation or an Australian gin and food pairing experience?

Hungry for Authentic Experiences – Hyper-local Dining

Eighty percent of Chinese travelers say they would like to book a meal in a stranger’s house because they want to see how people live and want to meet people in an authentic setting. It’s just the same as if you went to Paris, it would be difficult to meet Parisians up close and personal unless you booked an experience specifically to do this. Seventy-five percent of Americans have engaged in eating with local families or a hands-on experience such as a cooking class led by a local chef while travelling. Travellers book food experiences, meals, cooking classes, private parties wherever their travels take them in an effort to feel the authentic.

Millennials and Gastronomic Capital

Millennials now view food as important as their clothes in defining their character and social capital. Clubs that showcase their diverse culinary culture in new and exciting ways while promoting sustainability and social responsibility, will capture the millennials stomachs, hearts and minds well into the future.

Bottom Line Benefits 

Leveraging a club’s gastronomic assets has economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits. The 3rd UNWTO World Form on Gastronomic Tourism in May 2017 concluded that:

• Gastronomy is a key resource in the value proposition and differentiation of destinations. It is a market segment in itself rather than just a part of cultural tourism.

• Gastronomic (culinary tourism) broadens the view through the exercise performed by chefs and restaurants as loudspeakers to project gastronomic wealth, incorporating the triangle between cuisine, product and territory.

• Gastronomic Tourism contributes to the conservation of biodiversity and landscapes by maintaining the usage, customs and functions that allow for the preservation of the tangible and intangible wealth and the recovery of culinary memory.

• Gastronomic Tourism empowers all those who make up the chain of gastronomic value, especially the local communities, and also the professionals in their capacity as ambassadors of the territory, thus reinforcing the identity and sense of belonging and safeguarding the authenticity of each place.

• Gastronomic Tourism, through technology in the new world of a more demanding and hyper-connected customer, offers destinations the opportunity for the local community and travellers to co-construct their food stories.

• Gastronomic Tourism has the power to balance the heritage legacy between one’s own and that of others, allowing for the influence of other cultures that have contributed to the evolution of gastronomy of the region over the centuries.

Does Marketing Food Have a Positive Impact?

According to a recent survey by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) local government tourism boards and travel companies agree they are not doing enough to market their regions food and beverage offerings. While all respondents had indicated they hosted activities to promote food and beverage offerings and experiences, fewer than half said they had a food tourism strategy. The data below highlights the respondent’s thoughts on the benefits of promoting food tourism.

Type of Impact and Percent of Respondents

Promoting food tourism increased our positive media coverage – 77.20%
Promoting food tourism had an impact on increasing our website traffic – 65%
Promoting food tourism increased our income from this kind of tourism – 59.50%
Promoting food tourism increased sales at food-related businesses – 52.50%
Promoting food tourism increased bookings from tourists interested in food – 44%
Promoting food tourism had no impacts at all – 14%

Registered clubs can benefit from the experience of Tourism Boards in targeting the most popular food tourism promotion activities to see what resonates with locals and visitors and how best to spend their marketing dollars.

Activity and Percent of Respondents

Read published media articles – 93%
Read published research studies – 80.70%
Organised a gastronomy event (wine festival, food truck) – 78.90%
Sponsored gastronomy events/exhibitions – 75.40%
Used Facebook to target tourists interested in food – 63.20%
Tourism product developments (food trails, museums, visits to producers) – 59.60%
Created a brochure about food types in the destination – 59.60%
Hosted big food-related events to showcase products – 54.40%
Advertised via online platforms (blogs) – 54.40%
Used Instagram to target tourists interested in food – 42.10%
Used YouTube to target tourists interested in food – 40.40%
Used Twitter to target tourists interested in food – 38.60%
Used other social media to target tourists interested in food – 33.33%
Used Google+ to target tourists interested in food – 21.10%
Used LinkedIn to target tourists interested in food – 10.50%


Destinations Concede Their Food Tourism Marketing Efforts Fall Short

Chefs+Tech: Will Travel for Food

Bottom Line. Teach Your Children Self-Control


Recent research presented at the National Academy of Sciences in the USA shows that while we know life skills such as persistence, conscientiousness, and control are important in early life, Steptoe and Wardle’s findings also suggested how they are relevant in later life as well.

They measured five life skills—conscientiousness, emotional stability, determination, control, and optimism—in 8,119 men and women aged 52 and older.

The higher the scores on those five life skills were associated both cross-sectionally and longitudinally with economic success, social and subjective wellbeing, and better health in older adults.

Their research showed that the number of skills is associated with wealth, income, subjective wellbeing, less depression, low social isolation and loneliness, more close relationships and likelihood of volunteerism.

Cross-sectionally, the research also showed an association between these life skills and health and biological outcomes such as better self-rated health, fewer chronic diseases and impaired activities of daily living, faster walking speed, and favourable objective biomarkers.

Longitudinally, these life skills also predicted sustained psychological wellbeing, less loneliness, and a lower incidence of new chronic disease and physical impairment over a 4 year period. These analyses took account of age, sex, parental socioeconomic background, education, and cognitive function.No single life skill was responsible for the associations and neither were socio-economic status or health. The effects depended on the accumulation of life skills. Despite the difficulties of later life, life skills impact a range of outcomes. The research suggest that the fostering and the maintenance of these attributes in adult life may be relevant to health and wellbeing at older ages and benefit the older population.

According to latest findings out of the University of Otago’s world-renowned Dunedin 30 year Multidisciplinary Study it was found children with more self-control turn into healthier and wealthier adults regardless of IQ or social background. Low self-control makes children vulnerable to “snares” that could have life-long impacts on their health, wealth, well-being and criminal history in later life. This study was the first hard evidence that childhood self-control does influence adult outcomes in the general population.

Children as young as three who scored lower on measures of self-control were more likely than children with higher self-control to have the following outcomes as adults:

  • Physical health problems (including poorer lung function, sexually transmitted infections, obesity, high blood pressure, bad cholesterol, dental disease)
  • Substance dependence (including tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, and harder drugs)
  • Difficulty with financial planning (including savings habits, home ownership, investments, retirement plans)
  • Difficulty with credit and money management (including bankruptcy, missed payments, credit card problems, living from pay cheque to pay cheque)
  • Rearing a child in a single-parent household
  • A criminal conviction record

Their findings also suggested the following:

  • that even small improvements in self-control for children and adolescents could yield important reductions in costs of healthcare, welfare dependency, and crime to a nation
  • children whose self-control increased with age tended to have better adult outcomes than initially predicted, showing that self-control can change and with desirable results
  • even those who already have above average self-control — could reap later rewards from universal interventions designed to improve such skills, especially in childhood but also in adolescence
  • not only could the most vulnerable children have a better chance at a happy and healthy life, there is the potential for across-the-board benefits in personal, social and economic well-being.

These two studies have important implications and challenges for developing interventions specifically focused on improving self-control skills for early childhood learning, for parenting, educators and prevention policies for countries with aging populations such as Australia.

“Gastro what? What do you do with a Master of Gastronomic Tourism?”

This is almost always the reaction when I tell people I’m studying a Master of Gastronomic Tourism. As I near the end of my degree, I’ve put a lot of thought into how to shape it into my dream work/life purpose.

Gastronomic Tourism as a discipline came into being as observation, experience and research revealed tourists plan entire vacations around food. Places, precincts, restaurants, food tourism companies, producers, growers, regions, cities and countries wanted to leverage this trend for their best interests.

So the marriage of Gastronomy and Tourism took place and blended the discovery, tasting, experiencing, researching, understanding and writing about food preparation and the sensory qualities of human nutrition as a whole and how it interfaces with the broader culture; AND travel for pleasure or business, the theory and practice of touring, the business of attracting, accommodating, and entertaining tourists and may be international, or within the traveler’s country or region.

A Gastronomic Tourism professional is someone with the skill set to develop destinations for social and economic benefit through innovative activities showcasing the unique food and drink culture of that destination.

“Please explain.”

Unpacking that definition:
‘professional’ means I will be engaged in a this activity as my main paid occupation;
‘develop’ means to bring into existence, grow or cause to grow and become more mature, advanced, or elaborate;
‘destinations’ denote a place that people will make a special trip to visit. It can be a restaurant, precinct, club, town, city, region, state or country.
‘social’ means in pleasant companionship with friends or associates, the welfare of human beings as members of society and tending to form cooperative and interdependent relationships with others;
‘economic’ relating to, or based on the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services;
‘benefit’ is something that produces good or helpful results or effects or that promotes well-being;
‘innovative’ introducing new ideas; original and creative in thinking to a process;
‘activities’ are direct experiences with animation, liveliness, an active movement or operation, using bodily power, function, or process;
‘showcasing’ an exhibit or display, usually of an ideal or representative model of something in its setting or place;
‘unique’ means limited in occurrence to an embodiment of characteristics or a given class, situation, or area;
‘culture’ means the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society, arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.

“Yes, but what will you do, exactly?”

Bring a love of, experience, knowledge and skills in business, tourism, marketing and gastronomy together to provide the food tourism strategy for those destinations.

Depending on the type of destination, developing food tourism for a place from zero would involve site visits, mystery shopping and research to identify the destination’s hidden or historic gastronomic assets, uncover the food stories of locals, immigrants and refugees and discover their food heroes. If the destination had some existing food tourism, an audit of those and potential others would be in order.

One might use a combination of public forums and discussions to uncover what the community think are their marketable gastronomic assets. It may be necessary to conduct focus groups and workshop ideas with stakeholders to refine the ideas.

Along the way one would need to identify and engage corporate sponsors, social enterprises, volunteers and community groups that could be involved and provide support. If opportunities for trails, tours, events or festivals are identified, engage with local government or tourism bodies to develop and champion these ideas.

It may be necessary to provide assistance with branding and marketing of the individual tactics and after some development takes place, undertake surveys to obtain feedback from stakeholders and activity attendees.

Some destinations know they have existing assets but are unsure how to begin the process and some have a developing or mature product that may need enhancement or redevelopment and relaunch. Just as places, humans and food are in a state of dynamic reinvention, so gastronomic tourism destination development should be.

“OK, but what sort of organisations would benefit from this specialist service?”

Food tourism start-ups and organisations that are struggling to create a strong food (tourism) brand identity, those looking for a competitive edge, to grow or re-brand, re-launch and change direction.

A registered club may want to attract new members and new types of diners by offering new and different food experiences, activities and events.

Food tour and tourism businesses may wish to attract food tourists that are prepared to pay more for a more immersive experience.

Producers and growers associations or farmer’s market groups with tight budgets may need to invest in more clever, cost-effective strategic activities to attract and retain customers but lack the specialist skills to identify the tactics.

The destination marketing of places, precincts, regions, cities and countries are largely funded by their local councils, state, federal government and through specific grants. Some government bodies have permanent staff and some contract staff on a project basis but may benefit from specialist consulting.

“What’s Your ‘End Game’?”


Purposeful Events & Design Thinking

Two new trends, Purposefulness and Design Thinking, have emerged as areas of interest to Leaders, Sales Teams, HR and Events/Meetings Managers. Here is a quick run-down and how these trends present exciting opportunities for innovation in Events.

Alistair Kerr writes about Purpose Leadership which highlights the habit of intensive intentional focus of leaders on where they are going and the path that will take them there. This is attained through asking themselves simple but powerful questions each day to keep focused.

Ian J Lowe writes about Selling on Purpose which is about how purpose is a choice we can all make and is derived from connecting to each other in relationships, touching lives by being of service to others and through taking risks and learning new things.

Carina Bauer writes about Purposeful Meetings and how to plan with deeper meaning, innovation and insight in mind. By becoming more purposeful, event managers can demonstrate a new competitive edge. She outlines five tangible areas of focus that will help events and meetings become more purposeful:

  • Behavioural Science – for improved team communication, genuine connection, influence and recall.
  • Health and Well-being – incorporating healthy food, hydration and relaxation to energise.
  • Meeting and Event Design – understanding how purposeful design with light, air, sound, smell, touch and white space can assist collaboration, connection, learning and personal transformation.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility & Legacy – connection with non-profits, engaging with community, sustainability and the impact of ‘rethink, reduce, reuse and recycle’ is both a passion with millennials and X Gens and creates powerful connections.
  • Technology –how keeping pace with the benefits of new technologies in events is a hallmark of a purposeful event manager.

Brendan Doherty writes about creating events with purpose as being the evolutionary path to providing authentic experiences for the young conscious consumer of today. This presents opportunities for Event Managers to express greater brand purpose and provide more immersive experiences through event design. He outlines five key areas and ideas of how experience design can tell a brand story and connect with human values:

  • Environmental Innovation – making event waste streams smarter, integrating food rescue into events, substituting fresh cut flowers for succulent centrepieces sourcing local talent and using the share economy to transport staff.
  • Social Impact & Community Innovation – let your staff hiring and vendor selection reflect your values, partner with non-profits, source food locally an even integrate the grower into the event narrative.
  • Measure Your Living Data – measure what matters with our environmental, social and community impacts such as carbon footprint and waste diversion. This data adds depth and purpose to your event or brand story.
  • Tell Your Story – bring data to life by making it visually and interactively engaging with touch screens. There are gaming apps that let them track the micro-impact and get rewarded for energy saved, water conserved or waste avoided.
  • Human Centred Design – uses unconventional spaces, repurpose under-used spaces with natural light, biophilic design uses plant walls, grassy lawns, water, dappled light and temperature control to elicit creativity, focus, collaboration or relaxation.

This idea of Design Thinking has also emerged in the field of Human Resources. David Mallon provides tips for introducing design thinking into people strategies.

Marc Boisclair believes design thinking is the future. For event managers this means thinking about what intrinsically motivates an attendee and getting deep into their mindset. Personalise the message by thinking about what makes attendees tick – job satisfaction, community service, earning power, quality of life, transformation and designing an experience that delivers that result.

Millennials and Gen Xers in particular want to be a part of something larger than themselves. They care about economic equality, social responsibility and protecting the environment. How can you as the Event Manager align and deliver all these messages in delightful, surprising and purposeful way?



Milk, Botanicals, Tickle Water, Kombucha and Suja Juice

ticklewater_webResearch into how efficiently different beverages hydrate the human body discovered that milk (both fat-free and whole), orange juice, and oral rehydration solution (e.g. Pedialyte) had a significantly higher hydration index than water. Drinks with moderate amounts of caffeine or alcohol as well as beverages with high levels of sugar had hydration indexes no different than water. The study was conducted by the European Hydration Institute. (Source: The New York Times, June 30, 2016)

Beverage makers are increasingly incorporating botanicals into their ingredient lists. Mixologists and craft cocktail makers are usually the first to try out new herbs and bitters. Others are responding to consumers’ desire for more plant-based alternatives as part of a clean food lifestyle. Botanicals are appealing not only for their flavor but also for functional properties such as sweetener or emulsifier as well as nutritional and health benefits including protein, fiber, antioxidants, and stress relief. One downside to botanical ingredients is they often vary in attributes according to region, weather, and other factors. (Source: Beverage Industry, September 12, 2016)

Tickle Water is positioned as “children’s sparkling water.” The line of naturally flavored, preservative-free, GMO-free, gluten-free, no-salt, no-sugar, and no-calorie sparkling water comes in Green Apple, Watermelon, and Cola flavors as well as an unflavored Natural. The line is available in select markets for $1.49-$1.59 per 8-ounce plastic can. (Source: Beverage Industry, July 28, 2016)

Kombucha, a fermented, functional tea, is catching on with consumers. Kombucha has a variety of health benefits including detoxification, joint health, digestive health, and immune-boosting properties. Nearly one-quarter (23%) of all adults and half (51%) of adults age 25 to 34 report drinking kombucha. Consumers who have tried kombucha plan to repeat their purchase by a two-to-one margin. Kombucha marketers are testing different variations of black tea and fruit flavors to differentiate their product from others. (Source: Beverage Industry, July 12, 2016)

Suja Juice is launching a line of functional drinking vinegars in September. The drinks are made with organic apple cider vinegar and cold-pressed fruits and vegetables. Each bottle contains over 4 billion units of live vegan probiotics, which support digestive and immune health, as well as 3-6 grams of naturally occurring sugars which results in 20-30 calories. The Suja Drinking Vinegars are fermented and unfiltered and have the “mother” still intact. Flavors include Hibiscus Ancho Chile, Strawberry Balsamic, Peach Ginger, Cucumber Ginger, and Lemon Cayenne. (Source: Beverage World, July 26, 2016)

Millennials now make up a greater proportion of wine drinkers (36%) than baby boomers (34%). The younger generation say that the wine they drink says a lot about them. They are also embracing wine sold in cans. The ManCan targets millennial soccer dads who want to drink wine at the pool, a baseball game, or outdoor at the grill. ManCan is available in red and white blends that makes for an easy decision for those without a lot of wine knowledge. The brand wants to eliminate all the barriers to drinking wine. Another wine in a can, Underwood, pokes fun at wine snobs in a series of videos. They, too, want to appeal to people who haven’t tried wine – in this case because of the pomp and circumstance associated with it. Rebel Coast Winery sells wine in bottles but has found ways to stand out on the shelf with names like Sunday Funday and a mustache on its label. Millennials also like rosé which has increased in volume by 48% to 52% year-overyear. (Source: Adweek, August 23, 2016)

Full Beverages InView October 2016 Report here.

Hybridising Health & Hedonism – US Beverage Trends

Carlsberg’s London Pop Up Chocolate Bar

Highlights from BeverageIn View June 2016:

Consumer research finds that taste/flavour is the primary deciding factor for consumers’ preferred beverage, cited by 72%. Other choice influencers are health and nutrition (21%) and functional attributes (16%). Hybrid beverages that combine great taste with better-for-you benefits are increasingly available and popular. The top three categories of non-alcoholic beverages have seen little growth or even declines. Carbonated soft drinks and juices both recorded 0.1% growth while dairy milk fell 7%. In contrast, energy drinks grew by 8.9%, and coffee sales increased 8.7%. (Source: US Official News, March 25, 2016)

Tea is being mixed with alcoholic beverages such as Bourbon, Vodka, Wine and Cocktails.

The top 10 beverage companies with distribution in the U.S. ranked on 2015 sales are:
The Coca-Cola Co. $44, 294 million; Anheuser-Busch InBev $43,064 million; PepsiCo Inc. $29,636 million; Nestlé SA $24,477 million; Heineken NV $23,391 million; Diageo $22,741 million; Suntory Holdings $22,410 million; SABMiller PLC $22,130 million; Starbucks Corp. $19,200 million; Unilever Group $19,200 million;

After increasing 89% in 2013 and 71% in 2014, hard cider sales rose only 10% in 2015 leading some to theorize the cider craze has peaked.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority created a custom beer brand #WHHSH, a social media hashtag for the city’s famous tagline. The black-labeled beer won’t be sold to the public but will be given away for free at events designed to promote Las Vegas to potential tourists. The beer is brewed by Tenaya Creek Brewery of Las Vegas, a local craft brewer. (Source: Advertising Age, April 11, 2016)

The global beer market is expected to hit $688.4 billion by 2020. The international beer market has been shaken up by beer’s increasing popularity in China. Four of the 10 top-selling beers worldwide are Chinese. The top 10 beer brands internationally and their market shares are: Snow (5.4%), Tsingtao (2.8%), Bud Light (2.5%), Budweiser (2.3%), Skol (2.1%), Yanjing (1.9%), Heineken (1.5%), Harbin (1.5%), Brahma (1.5%), and Coors Light (1.3%). (Source: Business Insider, May 9, 2016)

A survey of craft beer drinkers found they are more interested in healthy habits such as exercising, watching their weight, and drinking alcohol only occasionally than other monthly drinkers. Sixty percent of Millennial craft beer drinkers say they only drink alcohol on weekends and 44% observe periods of not drinking at all to maintain their health. Given the healthy focus of many craft beer drinkers, brewers are encouraged to be transparent when it comes to nutrition labeling which 78% of craft beer drinkers say are important to read when buying food and beverages. (Source: Brewbound, June 10, 2016)

A new study delves into the habits of craft beer drinkers at point of purchase. Almost 60% have used their smartphone to help decide what beer to choose off the shelf while 74% have used their mobile device to read up on beer before going to the store. Among craft beer drinkers, 72% say they are more likely to try a new beer if they can read information about it. Those who are searching for information about a brand while standing in front of the shelf are looking for reviews about one-third of the time. Craft beer drinks who use their mobile phone in-store would like to be offered rebates or coupons (75%), information about pricing (65%), brand specific information (52%), and retail locations that carry specific brands (51%) or have it in-stock (49%). (Source: Adweek, June 19, 2016)

A federal judge refused to block a San Francisco ordinance that requires warning labels on outdoor advertisements for soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages. The new rule will take effect on July 25. The warning must appear on posters and billboards and say “WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. This is a message from the City and County of San Francisco.” (Source: Law360, May 17, 2016)

The City of Philadelphia approved a tax that would raise the price of a soft drink – both sugar-added and artificially sweetened – by 18 cents per can. The tax will be used to help pay for pre-kindergarten and other popular services. At 1.5 cents per ounce, the proposed tax levy is 50% higher than the assessment in Berkeley, California, the first city to impose such a measure. A recent poll found that 59% of Philadelphians backed the sugary drink tax which has been endorsed by the Philadelphia Inquirer. (Source: The Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2016; CNN Money, June 16, 2016)


In the past 15 years, per capita consumption of bottled water has increased 120% from 16.7 gallons in 2000 to 36.7 gallons in 2015. During the same time, the combined volume of all other liquid refreshment beverages decreased from 95.7 gallons per person to 80.1 gallons, a 16.3% decline. An analysis estimates that by choosing bottled water over other drinks, an average individual consumed 24,000 to 27,000 fewer calories in 2015 than a typical person did in 2000. (Source: Beverage Industry, June 7, 2016)

Coffee houses are reporting increasing demand for more iced espressos and lattes. During the last quarter of 2015, Starbucks reported a 20% increase in iced drinks nationwide following its introduction of a new cold brew coffee. Coffee makers – including Peet’s, Illy, High Brew, La Colombe, and Chameleon Cold-Brew – are pushing to get more high-end, low-calorie, less-sugary cold brews and lattes onto store shelves. The U.S. ready-to-drink coffee market has been growing by double-digits annually since 2011 and is expected to reach nearly $3.6 billion by 2020. (Source: Bloomberg, May 23, 2016)

Consumers have begun to realize how much sugar sports drinks contain – over 50 grams per 32-ounce bottle, much more than the average person needs. In response, sports drinks are offering lower- and no-calorie versions. Sports drinks are also being tailored to meet specific needs such as a high-sugar version for athletes needing energy, carb-heavy versions for athletes needing endurance, and low-calorie options for simple hydration needs. In addition, Gatorade and Powerade have eliminated brominated vegetable oil from their ingredient lists in response to an online campaign begun by a 15-year old. The next phase of sports drinks appears to be meeting individual nutritional needs. Gatorade is testing small pods of liquid formulated to individual needs as determined by Gatorade’s sweat patch. The pods snap into bottles of Gatorade to deliver the necessary nutrients. (Source: Business Insider, March 26, 2016)

Overall, revenue for the U.S. distilled spirits category grew 4.1% in 2015 while volume was up 2%. The gap between dollars and cases is expected to widen as more drinkers opt for premium and superpremium drinks. Among sub-segments, Irish whiskey had the strongest growth rate at 16.1% followed by single malt Scotch whiskey at 13%, blended whiskey at 8.8%, tequila at 7.4%, and brandy and cognac at 7.2%. Sub-segments with declining growth include cordials at -1.9%, gin at -1.8%, and rum at -1.5%. (Source: Beverage World, May 2016)

Juice sales have stagnated in recent years due to increasing competition from other healthy drink categories, heightened concerns about the calorie and sugar content in juice, and growing aversion to artificial ingredients. (Source: Beverage World, May 2016)

A new survey finds that Americans’ favorite place to drink wine is at home with 47% of Millennials and 61% of Gen X and Baby Boomers preferring it over social gatherings, restaurants, or wineries. This preference could be part of a wider movement towards “hometainment” or socializing at home to save money. The same survey found that bars are the least popular place to drink wine with only 3% choosing it as their favorite. (Source: Business Insider, May 3, 2016)

And from the “Only in America” file:

New Belgium Brewing is teaming up with Ben & Jerry’s to offer another ice cream-inspired ale. The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale will roll out this fall. The two companies previously released Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale. Proceeds up to $50,000 from the sales of the new offering will benefit Protect Our Winters which is a non-profit focused on climate change. (Source: Fox31 in Denver, June 20, 2016)

Carlsberg created a chocolate bar – a drinking establishment made entirely out of chocolate – outside of the Old Truman Brewery in London as part of the ongoing “If Carlsberg Did” campaign. Initially the bar was disguised as a billboard in the shape of a giant candy bar which was unwrapped to reveal the bar which was constructed from 1,000 pounds of chocolate. Measuring 5 meters wide by three meters high by two meters deep, the bar included bar stools and a television and served half-pints of Carlsberg beer in chocolate glasses. The bar was only in business for half-a-day and the promotion was tied to the Easter holiday. (Source: Adweek, March 24, 2016)