Why We Are Being More Suspicious About Our Food

Chef Curtis Stone says we need to lighten up.
Chef Curtis Stone believes many of us are getting rather paranoid when it comes to food.
Chef Curtis Stone believes many of us are getting rather paranoid when it comes to food.

We're living in a world where many of us are becoming increasingly suspicious of our food. Less people are shopping in the middle aisle of supermarkets, preferring to spend their money on the fresh food sections.

Four in ten people now choose to eat a specialist diet, sales of sugar are down by eight per cent and sales of cans of soup are down due to high salt content.

Celebrity chef Curtis Stone, speaking at the opening of his restaurant Share on Princess Cruises, told The Huffington Post Australia there's nothing wrong with a more back-to-basics mindset but, in some situations we need to lighten up.

"There's definitely a trend towards people getting too suspicious of food. We're too suspicious of just about everything to do with food, from bacteria to germs. And it's crazy that people are using multitudes of alcohol wipes to get germs off their hands. When you think about it, it's all the things nature gave us to live in," Stone said.

"I think there's a huge problem with it. When it comes to food, people think everything has 'gone off' when it hasn't. Has it been in the fridge for three days? Must be off. No!"

Curtis Stone at the opening of his restaurant Share on Princess Cruises.
Curtis Stone at the opening of his restaurant Share on Princess Cruises.

"Many people think that if you leave something out on the kitchen bench overnight that you need to throw it out. They get up in the morning and say, 'Oh no, I've left the food out all night...I've ruined it. I must chuck it out!' Why?"

Director of Cultural forecasting at Galkal, Michelle Newton told HuffPost Australia people are getting more and more paranoid. It wasn't long ago that the iconic Peter's ice cream carried the tag line of 'Peters the health food of a nation.'

"No one even thought to look at ingredients and labeling of contents on the pack. Those days are long gone; when simplicity and the purity of plain dairy and sugar was never questioned. But today, there's a revolving door of taboo foods on our hit list. Sugar is seen as the next tobacco. People are defining their own personal 'brand me' by their choices of restriction of food from flexitarian (mostly plant based) to 5/2 diets and paleo," Newton said.

"The future will see more transparency and more honesty from food companies as a direct response to the health and wellness trend to reinstate the trust."

"Take Kraft Mac and Cheese as an example. I read recently, 'Nothing triggers nostalgia like the sight of a steaming plate of sticky pasta, as unnaturally orange as a nuclear dawn.' 80 years after its invention Kraft removed all artificial colouring and additives from Mac & Cheese as parents demand it for their kids, and Gen Z kids demand it too!"

"Food brands that want to win hearts and stomachs in the future need to deliver to fundamental human needs and understand how these are manifesting in culture. So while nostalgia is a powerful trend, so too is health and wellness and, it's important to remember that they are linked."

Curtis Stone said he hopes that people will relax about food in many ways and realise that simple things, such as leaving food out overnight, is not going to endanger their health.

"What people need to realise is that all a refrigerator does is control the temperature, it's a box with a slightly different atmosphere. I leave food out overnight often and often intentionally because I know it will be fine in the morning," Stone said.

People need to use their noses more often. Use what God gave you, as well as your instincts."