Top Food Trends of 2023
The foodservice trends of 2023 continue to be shaped by the influence of global recipes shared on social media, the desire to eat healthier, and the need for sustainable food options. Now that the restaurant industry is almost back to normal, everyone is bringing their large groups of friends and high expectations to the table. Take advantage of these food trends to shape your 2023 menu.
Buying for the Climate
This food trend focuses on sustainability. Buying for the climate entails purchasing responsible products where the company calls out its sustainability efforts on its packaging. This can also include the contents being sustainable too, containing some sort of reused by-products such as leftover pulp from milk alternatives turned into flour.
Healthy-ish Childhood Nostalgia
Great cooking emulates a feeling, dream, or memory, and that’s exactly what companies are trying to do through childhood nostalgia in grocery store aisles. Think mac and cheese, after-school snacks, and cookies from a specific decade, but made to accommodate special diets such as veganism or gluten-free. Or, they’re simply just made healthier.
From the pink-fleshed pineapple to 2022's hibiscus-flavored-everything craze to TikTok's pink sauce trend, pink foods continue to capture the attention of consumers everywhere, and it won’t stop growing in 2023. To add pink food coloring naturally, we recommend using dragonfruit to get the vibrant pink hue that people love.
Pronounced “tah-heen”, Tajin is a spice blend that was made in Zapopan, Mexico in 1985. The blend contains red chiles, lime zest, and sea salt, and it is famously used on fruits (especially mango), vegetables (famously on corn as a part of elote’s ingredients), and on the rim of delicious cocktails. Because Tajin has been popular for decades in Mexico, we predict this ingredient will only gain more traction this coming year in America.
America is finally catching up to what many cultures around the world have been privy to for years: crickets, locusts, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and more insects are packed with protein and fiber. Now that we are changing the tune on “creepy crawlers”, we can benefit from their natural nutrition. Buy your dried insect ground or whole and use them in energy bars, sweet bread, yogurt, smoothies, salads, and tacos.
Sweet and spicy are the flavor duo of the year, and “swicy” is the term coined for it. A frequently used ingredient of this food trend is hot honey, which consumers have drizzled over pizza, pasta, wings, and burgers. Swicy can also be found in the South Korean gochujang sauce, which is a sticky, sweet, and spicy sauce that contains gochujang paste, sugar, vinegar, garlic, and ginger. Some versions even contain strawberry jam!
Throughout the past decade, we’ve seen vegan meat alternatives come in every form: hamburgers, bacon, sausages, hot dogs, eggs, jerky, and so much more. Now, vegan seafood is about to have its moment. Shrimp, caviar, salmon, crab cakes, fish ‘n' chips, and more seafood favorites are getting their plant-based spin. This is a great way to add more vegan options for guests to round out your vegan menu.
Glocalization combines the words "global" and "local" and refers to when a heritage crop - one that's commonplace in one area and considered global cuisine everywhere else - is grown in a non-local planter's land. This happens due to cultural and population shifts with natural movement events like immigration, traveling, or cuisine curiosity. This is what's known as a "people-centered food policy", which goes beyond just nutrition and agriculture and instead reflects people's cultures, tastes, and desires.
What Can We Take Away from This Year's Food Trends?
In all of these emerging food trends, there are a few general takeaways that you should keep in mind when updating your restaurant's menu.
TikTok Has a Major Influence on Food Trends
As an easy way to spread information fast, it’s no wonder TikTok has such a hold on what consumers are influenced to eat and cook. This year, we’ve seen the subtle start of "swicy" and pink foods as ingredients that people have loved to use. But we’ve also seen childhood nostalgia food and recipes creep up, along with Tajin being introduced in other cultures through decades-old recipes.
Caring About the Climate Will Never Go Out of Style
Gen Z’s voice only grows louder with their population’s age, and because of that, we are seeing sustainability emphasized through the mitigation of food waste and the introduction of smart packaging. Another food trend we’ve seen because of this is more protein alternatives, such as insect protein being used instead of resource-consuming meat. Vegan seafood can run because vegan meat walked.
Food trends are in constant fluctuation with social media outlets like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. Craft your menu in the coming year to peak your customers' interests and keep up with the developing food trends of 2023!