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The year that is: 2014 about kale, beards and ‘crystallography’

Did you know it’s the International Year of Family Farming and Crystallography? And that’s not all you’ve got to look forward to in 2014, reports Crikey intern Broede Carmody.

kale

Move over quinoa — the United Nations has declared 2014 to be the International Year of Family Farming and Crystallography.

Huh? Crystallography is the science that looks into the arrangement of atoms — a far nerdier prospect than the South American superfood which took the world by storm after the UN crowned 2013 the Year of Quinoa.

So in the Chinese Year of the Horse (according to Chinese astrology, people born this year will be strong, excellent at interacting with others and good at making decisions), what else will 2014 be about? We asked some insiders to gaze into their crystal balls …

Food

David Zhou, managing director of Oriental Teahouse, says customers will demand more home delivery options this year. “It’s about the customer and their convenience,” he told Crikey. ”We will see smaller-scale restaurants more and more because of staffing costs. A healthy approach will also continue, as more people are conscious of that.”

While quinoa is still popular, Zhou says kale and goji berries are also a hit for the health-conscious customer. Tea drinking is also on the rise, with restaurants and cafes selling different varieties because they are “really starting to pay attention to the demand”. Tea-inspired cocktail, anyone?

Technology

Kourosh Kalantar-Zadeh from RMIT University says biotechnology is now reaching consumers. “It’s becoming big in America and I’m sure this will become big in Australia as well,” he said. “Patients can put a drop of blood or saliva onto a chip which then processes the information. It can predict if someone is going into a horrible situation pretty quickly … This might be the next big thing if we’re lucky,” Professor Kalanta-Zadar said.

Apple fans can rest easy with the knowledge that 2014 will probably bring in some sparkling new gizmo, including a new iPhone and iPad that are rumoured to have larger screens. Then, of course, there is the much-anticipated smartwatch.

Travel

Adelaide caused quite a stir recently after making it into Lonely Planet’s global top 10 places to travel in 2014. While Melbourne and Sydney constantly compete for attention, it seems Adelaide has become the apple of Lonely Planet’s eye due to its cultural festivals, parklands and accessible wine regions. It’s no surprise that places like Paris and  Zurich made the cut, but interestingly so did Cape Town in South Africa and Trinidad, a town in Cuba.

Housing market

Andrew Wilson from Australian Property Monitors says the housing market will continue to boom. “The Sydney housing market was the pillar of the national market last year,” he told Crikey. “We are seeing price rises that we haven’t seen in a decade. But I think there are some issues on the local economy that will see that activity moderate through the year.”

Perth and Brisbane are expected to have good prospects due to stronger local economies and rising populations. But Wilson says Canberra’s housing market is expected to moderate due to public service jobs being shed. “The resource states look in the best position to record prices growth,” he said.

Aussie dollar

The $A is tipped to hold its ground, despite the Reserve Bank saying it is “uncomfortably” high. Experts expect it to trade around 90 US cents for much of 2014.

Fitness

If Crossfit was the trend in 2013, doing it into the wee hours is important this year. Anytime Fitness founder Justin McDonell says the 24-hour gym market will grow. “There are a lot of 24-hour gyms in the market now and they will keep growing to allow people to keep exercising in their own time,” he said.

The fitness industry is also expected to use new technology. Products such as Fitness On Request allow people to exercise in a virtual class format whenever they want to. “There are a lot more offerings for fitness these days,” said McDonell. As gyms continue to become more accessible, McDonell expects gyms to offer more services for people in their 60s and 70s.

Fashion

Patty Huntington, a Sydney-based fashion journalist, says we will see punk and grunge themes emerge as we move into the (Australian) winter months. However, while it’s still warm we can expect to see transparency as a dominant theme in clothing, particularly lace. “Floral print dresses are still big,” Huntington told Crikey. “There are also a few micro trends. The sleeveless blazer is definitely a big thing, as are crop tops for women.”

When it comes to shoes, sandals and Birkenstocks are all the range — as are Nike and Adidas runners. And apparently facial hair on men is not going away any time soon. “Several razor companies have reported double-digit losses in sales, but there is growth when it comes to grooming products. There is definitely a major return to facial hair,” Huntington said.

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    Michael Stanley
    Posted Monday, 13 January 2014 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Long Island Ice Tea (Chang Dao Bing Cha) is a fine (and lethal) tea-inspired cocktail and very popular in Beijing bars.

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