You, Me and 2023

JAN teams prediction for 2023

A new year is like a blank canvas – crisp, clean and bursting with possibility. It’s a state of mind but suddenly everything seems possible. One of our favourite exercises to do together as a team here at JAN is to reflect on all the stories we’ve told up until this point, and then re-evaluate to see what comes next. We all have our own idea of what trends, topics and conversations will be important in 2023 and these often influence what we as a team choose to focus on in the new year. None of us have a crystal ball so this exercise is always fun to reflect on when the year draws to close, after all, who could have foreseen that cerise pink would be the unofficial colour of 2022 thanks to Valentino, or that the espresso martini would be everyone’s go-to after work pick-me-up? Without further ado, here are the JAN team predictions on everything from food and fashion to wellness for 2023!

Group CEO Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen doesn’t believe in style over substance

I’m not a big trend follower but every year we see patterns of repetition, I see it clearly with all my travelling back and forth between Europe to South Africa. This year I believe smaller intimate experiences will be more popular than those of the 100 seater variety. We are in a time of no frills, yet quality attention. No smoke but a clean mirror for the chef to actually find his identity and cook for the main purpose he’s doing so, the reason he is in the kitchen doing what makes him happy. Now more than ever kitchens are also trying to be more sustainable and actually making a point to be transparent and share that process with their guests. Hopefully 2023 will be the year where we will all consider the circle of hospitality with kindness. Personally, I also hope we can finally put the foams, gels, and majority of tweezer picking away in restaurants! 

Lastly, this year is all about eating as much as you want… as long as you made it yourself from scratch!

JAN Group Executive Chef Antro Davel is all about sustainability

This year we are even going to take sustainability a little further. We’re using a term called “regnivore”, which essentially means we’re asking suppliers not only to be sustainable in what they provide, but also in what their long-term plans are to ensure mother nature is taken care of in the future. I love this, I think this will give small-scale suppliers the opportunity to rise above big-scale companies and set an example by not only focusing on seasonality but also on climate-conscious foods that are better for everyone. This also plays into our increased focus on plant-based menus and dining.

As for ingredients, after reading a recent article about the ingredient of the year, food trend forecasters are saying tamarind, a tropical fruit, will be the ingredient chefs will focus on and explore more this year. Plus butter is back in style! Julia Child couldn’t be more right when she said: “with enough butter, anything is good.”

Head of Video and JAN Innovation Academy Principal  Jenna Lemmer is going to keep it real

I’m celebrating 2023 as the year of unpretentious video that favours content over style. In the place of over-produced and highly stylised video, I anticipate a halcyon era of documentary-style short-form video across food, design, lifestyle, and fashion media landscapes. Almost as if the behind-the-scenes video becomes the main content piece. I’m excited to see more videos that celebrate wrinkles, noisy backgrounds, sloppy kisses, and real food. Simple videos that inspire us to slow down and look closer; to bask in the glory of the everyday. I see us pressing pause on the creation of elaborate fictional worlds to let our ideas, products, and stories come alive in the real world. As a creator, this documentary approach to video makes me hopeful for a deeper connection between creatives and our work: Less clever concepts and set building; more awareness of context, coincidence, connection, and meaning in the wild, wonderful world – or right under our noses.

Video Content Producer Erin Walls on what fashion will look like this year

I think the year ahead in fashion will have a large focus on investment. People will be moving away from fast fashion brands more than before, and rather investing money into sustainable pieces that will last a long time; essentially – back to the basics. Whilst this may have been a trend for a while, I think in 2023 this will be more prominent than before, with more and more documentaries and information being brought to light on the negatives of fast fashion.

I think we will also see a lot more “comfortable” fashion; with loose fitting and breathable materials (sorry skinny jean lovers), which  will move away from gender conforming fashion and towards a lot more unisex pieces; much like what the RSA brand Artclub and Friends has been doing with their line.

Finally, I think the 90s will have a big comeback this year; with maxi-skirts, slip dresses, vintage details and leather elements. It will be a change from the bright colours and shoulder pads we saw in 2022, which paid homage to the 80s.

Finally, I hope we can say bye to crocs in 2023.

Production and Special Projects Coordinator Armand Ridgard ponders the ‘traditional’ go-to food-and-wine pairing

A hot trend in 2023 is the use of non-alcoholic beverages when pairing food with drinks. Instead of reaching for a traditional glass of wine, more and more people are discovering the delicious and unexpected pairings that can be created with non-alcoholic drinks. Whether it’s a sparkling kombucha to complement a spicy dish or a cold brew coffee to bring out the flavours of a rich dessert, non-alcoholic drinks are proving to be a versatile and exciting addition to pairings. In Cape Town, we are incredibly lucky to have access to a variety of farms that produce single-terroir fresh juices. Mocktails are another creative option for food pairings, but generally require a repertoire of sugar syrups and carbonated drinks – not the most attractive option for those whose voluntary abstinence is a health-conscious decision. So next time you’re planning a dinner party or a meal at home, don’t be afraid to get creative with your non-alcoholic drink choices and discover new and delicious pairings for your favourite food.

JAN Group COO Julia Pretorius knows the traditional office landscape is evolving

In 2023 remote team management is an essential soft skill. Consistently managing, mentoring and motivating multiple personalities is challenging at times, but achieving that same level of authentic connection through a screen is a whole new ball game. As hybrid working models become the norm and we adjust to the rapid rise of global teams, cultivating the ability to ensure that every member of the team sees the same big picture and feels that they have the same share of voice, whether they are on another continent or just in the next office, is paramount to business leadership, business resilience and staff retention.

Head of Content and Journal Hanfred Rauch thinks wellness will start in the kitchen

Doing things in the hope of altering your mood is nothing new. It’s why jogging is so addictive, apparently, although I’ve never taken to the sport. But exercise isn’t the only thing that boosts dopamine (the feel-good hormone). There’s that flutter of excitement you get when your best friend hands you a mix tape (news has reached me that we don’t call them that anymore), receiving a compliment, mastering a dish you didn’t think you could pull off, or in recent developments, “dopamine dressing”. Whether rocking a power tie or channeling your inner Harry Styles by walking that tightrope between fashion and costume, it’s basically using colour and texture to boost your mood. My prediction for 2023, though, is that we’re going to be seeing a lot more dopamine eating. And I’m not thinking vetkoek and mince comfort quick fixes. “Eating a rainbow” is making a comeback, whether it’s joyful, fresh salads or colouring food with vegetable juices, we’re already there. And with the plant-based movement opening up a whole new chapter in fun things to do with food, cooking is exciting again, and feasting with the eye is reaching new heights.