Discoveries at Fine Food Australia Exhibition 2017 – Darling Harbour ICC

 Pumpkin Seeds and Oil – The Pumpkin House

The Pumpkin House in Queensland creates products and oils that celebrate the nutrition and qualities of the humble Styrian pumpkin seed (pepitas). Slovenian pumpkin seed oil has an intense nutty taste, intense deep green colour and an extra-ordinary silky mouth-feel. It can be used in savoury and sweet dishes for flavour, colour and finishing purposes. Styrian pumpkin seed oil has been around for 200 years. If you love to use walnut oil, hazelnut oil or seasame oil in your cooking then pumpkin seed oil might just be your new favourite. Check out Pumpkin Seed Oil and Ice cream here and Pumpkin Seed Oil spread recipe here. Wholesale enquiries here. Find out more at The Pumpkin House. Veronika and Aleksander tell me the chocolate covered pumpkins seeds will be available soon – a marriage made in heaven.

Charcoal Crispbread, Grissini and Ice Cream

I know charcoal flavoured products have been around for a while, but I still love the wow factor and contrast they provide. The Byron Bay Cookie Company is producing Falwasser Activated Charcoal Wafer Crispbread and as you can imagine they provide a stunning contrast on any cheese board.

Valbuzzi are making a great variety of grissini and mini grissini including a Rye and Charcoal version. The taste is unique and the colours are a joy to work with on cheese, antipasto and charcuterie platters.

Black Hawaii Carbon Black Ice Cream owes its heavenly taste and texture to vegetable carbon, coconut water and raw cocoa beans. It is gluten and lactose free a creamy texture and quite a showstopper. Formulation suitable for gelato and soft serve. I’m struggling to describe the flavour – ‘just heaven’ will do.

Maple Pearls

Canadian Liquid Gold Maple Pearls. These pearls are sweet little spheres of pure Maple Sugar. They provide new texture. as a maple “crumble” to top muffins or breads, sprinkle over icing on cookies. You can mix them into a batter for bursts of maple in baked goods or add to your morning coffee for a maple flavour. An elegant jar makes them a great gift too.

Sugar Cane Fibre Designer Ecoware

Epicure Trading are speclialists in designer eco-friendly single-use disposable tableware. The stylish Wasara eco-range caught my eye with their fabulous organic shapes and clever bamboo cutlery that conveniently slides onto the edges of plates or bowls.

Japanese designed, these are water and oil resistant, sturdy and durable, do not sweat when hot liquids are added, made from sugar cane waste, bamboo and reeds, biodegradable and compostable.

Viktoria Darabi is a Food Culture Tourism Whisperer, Food & Beverage Trendspotter & Futurist, championing 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.

Watermelon, Breakfast Beer & Avo Ale – Highlights US Beverage Report Q3

Watermelon a Trend

Watermelon is gaining popularity around the world as a flavor for food and beverages. Watermelon is fresh-tasting, refreshing, and loved by all ages. Beverage categories which have recent launches with watermelon-flavor are juice-based drinks, sparkling beverages, shandies, cocktails, mocktails, malt-flavored beverages, energy drinks, and protein drinks. Watermelon is also trending for craft alcoholic beverages including a watermelon mule, watermelon Margaritas, watermelon sangria, watermelon mojito, and even watermelon beer. (Source: Beverage Industry, July 14, 2017)

Implications of the Sugary Drink Tax Tested in Philadelphia

A study examined the purchases of sweetened beverages in the Philadelphia market after the city instituted a new tax on January 1. The research compared sales of various beverages both inside and outside the city limits from January-May in both 2016 and 2017. The overall findings are that the Philadelphia sugar tax has significantly affected beverage sales within the city limits and increased sales at stores outside the city as people travel to the suburbs to purchase their sweet drinks. Specifically, sales volume of carbonated soft drinks fell 55% inside the city and rose 38% outside. Dollar volume of energy drinks declined 44% in the city core while ready-to-drink coffees and teas were down 37% and refrigerated juice drinks were down 47%. (Source: Beverage Industry, August 22, 201

BudLight and Pepsi Proactively Promoting with Snapchat

BudLight and Pepsi are both promoting their beverages via Snapchat as part of the National Football League season. Pepsi is adding a Snapcode on specially-marked beverage and food packaging. When the code is snapped, consumers will be randomly assigned an NFL Team. If that team wins a game that week, the participant will receive rewards. Everyone will be entered into weekly drawings for prizes. Bud Light is selling custom cans and bottles for 28 NFL teams. When customers take a photo of the packaging, they are entered into a sweepstakes for Super Bowl tickets and unlock team-specific Snapchat filters and a Bud Bowl Snapchat game. (Source: MarketingDive, August 18, 2017)

Breakfast Beer

Brewers are introducing morning-friendly beers to appeal to diners at breakfast and brunch who may be looking for something different or want a lower-alcohol drink earlier in the day. Approximately 60% of adults like to drink an alcoholic beverage at weekend brunch and 21% drink beer during the dining occasion. Beer at brunch encourages people to consider beer at other times of the day and facilitates new food pairings. (Source: The Wall Street Journal, June 27, 2017)

Heirloom Cider Apple Varieties

Heineken’s Strongbow Hard Apple Ciders brand introduced Strongbow Artisanal Blend. The new flavor is made with heirloom cider apple varieties which are cold-pressed and blended together. A massive consumer sampling of four-pack mini-cans with a suggested retail price of $1 will begin in September to drive awareness and trial. The launch will also be supported with a national television advertising campaign, in-store merchandising, digital marketing, and public relations efforts. (Source: Beverage Industry, July 11, 2017)

Avocado Ale

Angel City Brewery will host its fifth annual Avocado Festival, a two-day event featuring all things avocado including the brewer’s Avocado Ale. Avocado Ale is a creamy Kölsch-style beer brewed only once a year for the festival. The beer is made with avocado, honey, cilantro, and lime juice and has a very short shelf-life. (Source: Brewbound, July 19, 2017)

Storytelling in Beer Promotion

New Belgium Brewing has launched a new video series. Greater Lengths focuses on the people that go the extra mile with the goal of showing every journey has a great story. The first videos in the series feature the Boise Bicycle Project as well as stories of some New Belgium’s employee-owners. Additional videos will be added to their YouTube channel throughout the year. (Source: Brewbound, July 20, 2017)

Budweiser commissioned an eight-minute film directed by Tony Fulgham which profiles three Bud drinkers who live in the Pacific Northwest. (Source: Adweek, August 1, 2017)

US Craft Brewery Growth Slows

A new report from the Brewers Association discloses that production growth for U.S. craft breweries was 5% for the first half of 2017, the slowest rate recorded in 13 years. The last time production for small and independent breweries – defined as less than 25% owned by a noncraft beer company and producing less than six million barrels annually – was 2004 when 1,400 craft beer companies brewed 5.8 million barrels of beer. In 2016, more than 5,200 companies produced more than 24.5 million barrels. If the growth rate holds for the year, 25.8 million barrels of beer is expected. (Source: Brewbound, August 1, 2017)

Online Alcohol Delivery 58% Macro Brands, Craft Beer preferred by 30 year olds

Online alcohol marketplace Drizly reports millennial consumers who have used its app which arranges delivery of alcoholic beverages have steadily been shifting their dollars towards beers brewed by large breweries (aka “macro” brands) and their corporate-owned craft brands. Macro brands represented 58% of beer sales on Drizly during the second quarter of 2017, despite the fact that 90% of the beers offered through the app are craft brews. Craft beers are preferred by Drizly customers in their 30s. (Source: Brewbound, August 24, 2017)

Bottled Water Top Selling Beverage Based on Volume

Bottled water is now the top selling beverage in the U.S. based on volume. Bottled water’s sales increased 8.5% in 2016. The category’s share of stomach has increased from 15.2% in 2011 to 20.5% in 2016. The number one reason for the category’s success is consumers’ focus on health and wellness. Dollar sales of bottled water increased 6.4% to nearly $16.5 billion. While still water posted 6.2% sales growth to $11.7 billion in retail stores, sparkling water surged 16% to $2.3 billion. Premium and ultra-premium waters are also driving sales. Top still bottled water brands are Dasani (9.6% market share), Aquafina (9.5%), and Nestlé Pure Life (8.1%). The leading sparkling water brands are Sparkling Ice (16.6%), La Croix (12.4%), and Perrier (10.6%). The category is forecast to hit $23.8 billion in sales by 2021, a 44% increase. (Source: Beverage Industry, July 12, 2017)

Coca-Cola using AI and Geofencing to Target Type of Shopper

Coca-Cola is using machine learning to figure out consumers based on any available information. A recent digital signage pilot with Albertsons Supermarkets served up ads based on data gathered from nearby cell phones. On-premise beacons measured how quickly shoppers were walking to determine what kind of shopping trip – fill-up or fill-in – and then marketing to that type of trip. (Source: VentureBeat, July 5, 2017)

Carbonated Soft Drinks in Decline for 12th Consecutive Year

Carbonated soft drinks continued to struggle in 2016 with volume declining for the 12th consecutive year. The decline is expected to continue with a 1.4% compounded annual rate through 2020. Carbonated soft drinks accounted for 19.8% of share of stomach in 2016, down from 22.7% in 2011. Dollar sales of carbonated beverages sold in stores declined slightly (0.1%) last year to $27.6 billion. Ginger ale went against trend with a 9% sales increase last year due to consumers opting for the functional and digestive health benefits of ginger. Natural soft drinks also recorded a 16% growth rate, though they account for less than 1% of the market. (Source: Beverage Industry, July 12, 2017)

Real Brewed Tea Drinks Market Steady Growth

Sales of ready-to-drink tea experienced mid-single digit growth thanks to its reputation as a better-for-you drink. Real-brewed tea which uses tea leaves as opposed to extracts or concentrates is a trend in the RTD tea category. Loose-leaf tea sales are also on the rise as consumers become more sophisticated in their tea consumption. Canned and bottled teas had sales of $3.6 billion in the 52 weeks ended May 14, a 3.4% increase. Top brands in the segment were AriZona ($645.7 million in sales, -3.6% change in sales) and Lipton Pure Leaf ($615.2 million, +6.4%). The loose-leaf and bagged tea category had total sales of $1.2 billion, a 1.4% increase year-over-year. Lipton ($243 million, -4.4%) and Bigelow ($156 million, +0.2%) were the best-selling loose-leaf and bagged tea brands. (Source: Beverage Industry, July 12, 2017)

Global Alcohol Consumption Declines – Spirits Market Grows

Last year, consumption of alcohol declined 1.4% worldwide mainly due to sagging sales of beer and wine. Spirits grew 2.6% in the U.S. last year, more than twice the rate of wine. (Source: Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2017)

Distilled spirits recorded growth for the seventh consecutive year with supplier sales up 4.5%, volume up 2.4%, and retail sales hitting $78 billion in 2016. High-end and super-premium Irish whiskeys have driven most of the category growth in the past 15 years. Other segments with strong volume increases last year include cognac (+12.9%), tequila (+7.1%), whiskey (+6.8%), and vodka (+2.4%). Dark spirits have benefited from flavor innovation with fruit, spice, sweetened vanilla, and dessert flavors top choices of younger drinkers which are core drinkers of the sub-segment. The top distilled spirit brands based on chain retail sales for the 52 weeks ending May 14 were: In dollar sales % change Smirnoff Vodka $323,252,924 +0.4% Jack Daniels American Whiskey $307,471,860 +4.6% Crown Royal Canadian $269,535,344 +7.9% Captain Morgan Rum $232,071,429 +1.7% Fireball Canadian $192,168,417 +15.2% (Source: Beverage Industry, July 12, 2017)

Overall Juice Category Declines Due to Sugar Concerns

While the overall juice category has been declining due to consumer concern about sugar, premium juice segments such as raw unpasteurized juices, cold-pressed juices, and juice smoothies have performed well. Super premium juices registered an 11% increase in wholesale dollar sales to $2.2 billion. The superpremium segment is forecast to grow to $3.2 billion by 2020. Natural and organic juices were up 7% and 23% respectively while GMO-free shelf-stable juices increased 30% year-over-year. Juice concentrates experienced sales increases of 4.5% while bottled juices were up 1.1%. Aseptic juices declined 0.7%, canned juices were down 1.6%, and refrigerated juices fell 1.5%. New nutrition labels which separate naturally occurring sugar from added sugar is expected to benefit the category. Today, only 12% of sales are attributed to a product claiming “No Added Sugars.” (Source: Beverage Industry, July 12, 2017)

Trend to Plant Based Waters and Milks

The trend toward healthy hydration has spawned a spate of plant-based waters which offer functional and nutritional benefits. Plant-based waters grew 20% by volume and 17% by dollar sales in 2016 topping $493 million in sales. The U.S. has become a major market for coconut water, the top performer in the category. A wide-range of plant-based drinks are entering the market including maple, birch, watermelon, and cactus. Some brands are experimenting with flavors though original/unflavored options tend to be bestsellers. The category is expected to grow to nearly $900 million by 2021, a compound annual growth rate of 13%. Approximately $100 million of the market will be plant-based waters other than coconut. (Source: Beverage Industry, July 12, 2017)

Since 2011, U.S. milk sales have fallen 11% by volume. The decline is partially due to a pivot away from cold breakfast cereals and partially attributed to the rise in plant-based milk alternatives. In response, dairies are testing new products including milk combined with puréed fruit, ultra-filtered milk, and milkshakes with antioxidants and prebiotic fiber. (Source: The Wall Street Journal, August 9, 2017)

Full Report Here:

Viktoria Darabi is a Food Culture Tourism Whisperer, Food & Beverage Trendspotter & Futurist, championing 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.

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 & 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.