A life without chocolate is a life without joy. Jose Pelo or known by his friends as Joy, is a well-known chocolatier, patissier, and a food business consultant.
Today, he is sharing his two cents about the Indonesian food trends in 2017.
Living in Indonesia for quite some time now Jose Pelo has seen enough actions from the ever-evolving culinary world. That brings us right away to the main questions on how he would perceive food trends in general from his extensive experience as well as foreseeing what’s hot this 2017 in Indonesia.
To start, how the food trends evolve in Indonesia may seem very straightforward, thanks our country’s openness towards foreign influences. Television may have played an important role so far, but now we are more exposed with social media, the arrival of celebrity chefs, or sometimes quite surprisingly by businesses who are bringing the trends from abroad.
Suffice to say in Jakarta alone, each trend usually peaks for at least a year from the past decade. You might still remember when your family brought home the Red Velvet Cake or cronuts for your afternoon tea companion. Not long, Korean and Japanese pastry influences have been joining the fray to keep the selections varied – each with their own distinctions.
Year after year, you can never guarantee which trend that will give huge impact. Even so and yet arguably, Indonesians are highly curious folks and they’re more than willing to spend more trying something new and products with higher quality. That can be seen at how Indonesians are now becoming very familiar with spending on wagyu rather than local beef, as an example.
As an expert, Joy certainly has something to say about it. He’s putting the same notion that people are willing to spend more and more each year, despite Indonesian volatile economy.
“It’s not like 5 to 10 years ago when only business owners who were willing to invest more on higher quality products. People wouldn’t buy it though since it was expensive”, explains Joy.
He remembers the time when a number of Indonesians used to travel abroad to as far as France, The States, or Japan just to acquire special ingredients. “For example – the chestnut puree for Mont Blanc which was expensive, in addition also for the cream and chocolate. Now it’s easy to get those ingredients here”, he says.
Local ingredients back then were used as a substitute, due to the unavailability for the original ingredients or raw materials which are produced only abroad – like the premium frozen fruit, puree, and coulis for example. “Before we’d use local puree made from banana, strawberry, or other fruits which are native here. Now, premium brands such as Ravifruit or Boiron are readily available”, continues Joy, remarking also that these particular ingredients are now used more and more in gourmet pastry world.
“So if you’re asking me about the trend this year, then it goes for the cheese tart”, says Joy. Originated from Japan, the indulging baked cheese tart has already gained fame since late 2016 at Jakarta’s prominent shopping malls and shows no sign of stopping soon come 2017. Quite interestingly, BAKE as the original inventor of this dessert has not yet expanded to Indonesia, but instead, several players who have seen its potential introduced their versions to the market.
As for Joy personally, chocolate will always be his number one. He’s also introducing the prototype of his latest chocolate product innovation which will be unveiled within several months. While industrial chocolate is somewhat common in Indonesian market, Joy has many hopes that it will penetrate the huge market that this country traditionally has. Especially now that Indonesians know more about the higher grade couverture instead the traditional use of compound chocolate.
“To sell couverture even for 1% of Indonesian population is already promising business!” exclaims Joy. However using fully single origin cocoa might not be the right strategy for industrial chocolate. “Even so, using it as a marketing gimmick would make people curious”, shares the chef.
What remains to be seen this 2017 might be an adventure itself for us all. One thing for sure, Indonesia is a hungry market that keeps on learning more and more about food. Aspiring young guns with huge talent on pastry and business will be sure to break the barrier that the older generations have created and they will be the ones who are paving the way for the millennials to aspire or to experience the finer things in life.
Images by: Passion