In one of our previous posts, we covered everything you need to know about the Kombucha craze and how influential it has become in the local beverage scene. However, Kombucha isn't the only fermented food that’s trending in Australia. Others like sauerkraut, kimchi, and sourdough bread are gaining inreasing popularity in the food scene, too.
What exactly is fermentation?
It’s a natural process where carbohydrates are converted into organic acids or alcohol using yeast or bacteria. Just think about how milk is made into yogurt and how grapes are turned into wine. While fermented foods aren’t newcomers in the industry, only recently have they increased in demand and gone beyond a niche product in a health food store. This has come about due to the rise in awareness around the benefits they provide to our digestive health.
Fermented foods have tons of health benefits - which is why they’re also called “superfoods".
Rich in probiotics, fermented foods are believed to also improve mental health and reduce the symptoms of lactose intolerance and the risk of cancers. Practising dietitian Jemma O'Hanlon even said, "the evidence for fermented foods is growing, and so far we're seeing positive benefits in managing conditions such as diarrhoea and irritable bowel syndrome.” Above all, products that have been through fermentation improve gut health.
All these wonders are what made fermented foods a hit in the country. Now you'll see tons of Aussies looking for the best Kombucha and the tastiest kimchi and sourdough bread to incorporate into their daily diets. Even local cafes and restaurants are beginning to hop on the fermented food train to keep up with this trend.
The family-run business The Coffee Shop Next Door in New South Wales, for instance,serves their guests with nothing but wholesome, healthy meals. They sell Kehoe's Kitchen fermented goods and serve raw, vegan desserts. One of the must-try items on their menu is the Green Goat (smashed avocado, lemon, sprouts and seeds, and goat’s cheese on organic sourdough bread). In Melbourne, meanwhile, restaurant Ombra has lots of "condimenti", ranging from kimchi and pickled cucumbers to pink pickled turnips and pickled radicchio. According to the manager, Carlo Grossi, "our pickles complement the charcuterie but they're just as popular as standalone snacks. "People will order some pickled cucumber with bread and just have it with a beer, or a crisp white wine."
The most popular fermented foods that are making a name in the local food and beverage scene are:
1. Yoghurt - the most common fermented food you’ll see here in Australia. It’s preserved by adding live bacteria, like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species, to milk.
2. Kefir - also a fermented milk drink that’s made by mixing milk with kefir grains.
3. Sauerkraut - finely cut white cabbage fermented by different lactic acid bacteria.
4. Sourdough - common in specialty cafes. It’s a bread made from a mix of water and flour fermented by yeasts and bacteria
5. Kombucha - a sweetened black or green tea drink fermented by “SCOBY” (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast).
Australians are obsessed with fermented foods. The prevalence of kimchi, kombucha and kefir yoghurt at cafes, restaurants and food outlets has increased, and is continuing to grow. This is a food trend that will be around for a while. To capitalise on this trend, think about more ways you can add these ingredients to your menus and product offerings - more sourdough, kefir drinks in the fridge, sauerkraut on the side of dishes (or Kimchi for a korean fusion twist)!
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