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To weed or seaweed

In 2019, eating sustainably is a growing ambition. Eating less meat and throwing away less, requires thinking of and looking for more alternative ingredients. Read the latest food trends by Summum.

A normal cup of coffee? Nah, these days you’ll at least drink a decaf matcha latte with oat milk. All over the world, we are seeing veganism and plant-based food on the menu more and more often, in vegan junk food bars and in the form of vegetable dairy products. The normality of vegan (and vegetarian) food is also reflected in the way fast food chains are responding to this trend. Last year, pizza company Domino’s launched pizzas with vegan cheese and the Amsterdam snack bar chain Febo has recently launched a vegan version of its famous grill burger. But more food trends are emerging, from obvious things like a more prominent role for vegetables to 3D-printed vegan steaks.


For years now, we have been used to soy milk being offered in trendy coffee shops. But for those who don’t want to drink cow’s milk there are now more alternatives to choose from: oat milk, rice milk and almond milk, you name it. Producing almond milk is a centuries-old tradition in Europe. Due to Catholic dietary rules, people did not eat dairy products when fasting. Inventive recipes for fake cheese, imitation butter and vegan milk from almonds can therefore already be found in medieval cookery books.

Matcha, poké, donburi

Japanese food is on trend. Sushi and teppanyaki have been a thing for some time now, but pokéor donburi bowls have also been very popular in recent years. The Japanese-Hawaiian pokébowl is such a big hit that bowl bars are cropping up everywhere. The warm brother of the poké, the donburi, is becoming just as big. The first pokéand donburi bar opened in London in 2016: Tombo.

Another trend, the matcha bar, can also be found in London. The green tea powder originated in China as early as the seventh century and was introduced in Japan by Zen Buddhists a few centuries later. There, it became an important ingredient of the famous tea ceremonies. Matcha is praised for its antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals. It is a popular ingredient used in ice cream, cake, sushi, biscuits and coffee. In Amsterdam, you can taste matcha desserts (also savoury options!) at the Matcha Bar on Albert Cuypstraat.


Something that we associate with Japan: seaweed. Seaweed contains vitamins and minerals but no fat (it even seems to help you lose weight) and can be grown sustainably. Seaweed has also been eaten in Europe for hundreds of years: it grows in large quantities on the coast of Ireland. It is nutritious and free, and in times of need it was easy to come by. In 2019, seaweed infusions are processed into food such as pasta and crackers and seaweed is processed into the successful Dutch Weed Burger, for example. You can also enjoy it in liquid form: distillers process seaweed into spirits such as Seaweed Gin from the Dà Mhìle Distillery in Wales.


Speaking of infusions, the other kind of weed is becoming incredibly popular as a supplement to food and drink.  The counterpart of the active substance in cannabis, THC, is cannabidiol (CBD). It has an earthy taste to it and relaxes you. Some swear by it as a means of shaking off insomnia and chronic pain, but some use cannabidiol just for fun. You could have a CBD chocolate tasting session, for instance, or take a hemp cereal energy bar along to the gym. It has a calming effect.

Zero waste

The zero waste movement is also entirely on trend. Concerns about our planet are very topical and food waste is becoming an increasing taboo. That’s logical: there is too little food available to feed the world’s population, while a third of all our food is thrown away. Cooking smaller portions and re-establishing a leftover day helps. You can now even participate in a dumpster diving course. Seasoned ‘food rescuers’ take you to containers of perfectly edible food. Eating discarded food is not just for the homeless these days. The Too Good To Goapp is designed to help you with this. You could also eat at Instock, a waste-free restaurant in Amsterdam.

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Best for Coffee

Going out for coffee used to involve a cuppa, the newspaper and a biscuit in a traditional Dutch pub known as a ‘brown cafe’, where later in the day the bar serves a kopstootje (a glass of beer and a Dutch gin). That was once upon a time. Nowadays, the city is full of trendy, cosy coffee shops.

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