Top Food Trends of 2022

The foodservice trends of 2022 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 diners are safely grabbing reservations again, they're bringing their large groups of friends and high expectations to the table, too. Take advantage of these food trends to shape your 2022 menu.



citrus twist soda alternative

Healthy Soda Alternatives

Just when we all thought we couldn’t curb our soda addiction, 2021 started rolling out tons of different healthy soda alternatives. Instead of high-fructose corn syrup, caramel coloring, and phosphoric acid, these new sodas prioritize natural sweeteners like cane sugar and flavor with ingredients found in nature. From plant-based pops and CBD-infused sodas to low-calorie, caffeine-free, and functional fizzy drinks, this new soda alternative trend is just one of the many drink trends of 2022.

freshly baked cinnamon mini muffins with cannabis

Cannabis

Cooking with CBD is nothing new, but as marijuana becomes legalized in more and more states, companies are starting to infuse cannabis into food and drink products. Instead of vaping or smoking, consuming cannabis in legalized states through edible and drinkable products allows consumers to reap the effects of marijuana where smoking is not allowed, creating a more socially acceptable method for marijuana usage in public spaces. Plus, consuming cannabis through food or drink prevents damage to the lungs that vaping or smoking can cause.

red chili sauce

Chili Crisp

Also known as chili crunch, chili oil, or chili sauce, chili crisp is a condiment created by Tao Huabi 20 years ago in her noodle shop in the Guizhou province of China. It was an instant success, and now almost every restaurant in China makes their own chili crisp or chili oil. Seeing the success of chili crisps throughout Asia, brands in America have started to bottle their own chili crisps, using ingredients like mushroom powder, preserved black beans, and fermented soybeans to stand apart from one another. As more and more people experience chili crisp, it’s quickly becoming a pantry staple in America.

seaweed crisps in white bowls

Seaweed

Seaweed is a widely available resource, so it makes sense given this upcoming year’s food trend themes of health and sustainability. Seaweed is naturally vegan and packed with nutrients such as iron, calcium, and vitamin K. It’s also extremely abundant and grown close to home, reducing carbon footprint. Seaweed has been used in Japanese and Scandanavian cooking for years because of its briny umami taste. Raw, pickled, steeped in broths, or made into nori, furikake, kombu, and so much more, seaweed is a very versatile ingredient thanks to all of the different types of seaweed available.

potato milk in a glass bottle on a white wooden background

Potato Milk

Yes, you read that right. Potato milk now joins the rankings of almond, oat, coconut, hemp, and pistachio milk as dairy-free milk alternatives for coffee shops. Whether you’re serving a pre-made potato milk brand or offering a housemade potato milk option, we predict that curious customers will make this a big trend for 2022.

soup with noodles peas and mushrooms

Immunity-Boosting Foods

Focusing on health is a trend that’s staying, and immunity-boosting foods play a big part in how people take care of themselves. These types of foods include citrus, berries, leafy greens, turmeric, ginger, green tea, gut-healing fermented foods, and foods you eat when you have the flu.

canned fish in a tin

Tinned Seafood

The European conserva tradition of tinned seafood is the newest trend hitting retail stores and Instagram feeds. But why the sudden need for preserved seafood? Some say it started as a need to store canned goods during the pandemic, others see it as a way to relive past trips to Portugal, Spain, Italy, and France where tinned seafood is commonplace at home and in restaurants. Either way, the European conserva movement and Portugal’s famous tinned seafood packing (with its own online museum) are having their moment in America. According to marketdataforce.com, the Canned Seafood Market reached a value of 19.8 million in 2020 and is expected to reach 24.5 billion by 2026.

fresh morel mushrooms at a farmers market in spring

Foraged Foods

What was once a necessary survival task, then being deemed unsophisticated by the Industrial Revolution, to being brought back by movements like farm to table, foraging is having its full-circle moment. Foraging became trendy among chefs quite a few years back but has now been brought into the mainstream thanks to various foraging social media accounts. Content creators make educational videos of themselves foraging in their own communities or venturing into the wild and identifying edible (and warning about the inedible) plants, oftentimes bringing them home and turning them into a recipe. With this newfound appreciation for foraged foods, chefs have been identifying foraged foods on their menu to drive the sale.

frozen cultured meat in plastic bag

Lab-Grown Meat

No, not plant-based meat alternatives. Lab-grown meat is real meat that is grown from animal cells. How this works is that cells are painlessly sourced from prime chickens or cows and are then examined and chosen by which cells are more likely to produce the best meat. These cells continue to divide and therefore produce an indefinite amount of cells. The purpose of this process is to avoid harm to animals, eliminate the risk of harmful pathogens from animals to humans, and reduce carbon emissions and deforestation due to corn and soybean production to feed livestock.

people buying fresh organic vegetables from local farmers market

Hyperlocal Farming

Spurred on by the threats of climate change, consumers are looking to lower their food miles by purchasing locally grown food or simply starting their own victory gardens. Restaurants and shop owners can benefit from this trend by growing their own vegetables, sourcing proteins from farmers in the area, and purchasing other goods from small businesses in the neighborhood. Labeling on the menu where the food was grown or sourced shows your customers that your business is doing its part in reducing the effects of climate change while boosting your local economy.

raw chicken drumstick legs marinating in herbs and hotgloj spices

Cheaper Cuts of Meat

Whether it’s due to supply chain issues, financial constraints, or both, consumers are buying chicken breasts over wings, thighs over breasts, beef shank over short rib, chuck over loins, and so on. If you are someone that needs to prioritize purchasing cheaper cuts of meat for any reason, know you are not alone, and the cheaper cuts can be just as tasty as the expensive ones. We recommend using cooking processes like the Maillard Reaction, smoking or sous viding, and trying out different types of BBQ.

counter with various spices

Globally Inspired

Pastries, salads, entrees, appetizers, sides...anything that can take the addition of spice blends from around the world are being added to meals. Especially prominent spice blends being used in America are za’atar, furikake, tajin, and dukkah, while sauces and pastes like gochujang and harissa are finally getting the love they deserve. Thanks to platforms like TikTok and Instagram, we have also seen an uptick in learning traditional recipes from various regions through engaging cooking videos.

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.

Consumers Care About Sustainability More Than Ever

With big trends this year like lab-grown meat, foraging, and hyperlocal farming, people are starting to embrace the different ways they can reduce their carbon footprint. Adopting these sustainability methods in your restaurant will not only help the Earth but will also be appreciated by your customers and the community.

Health Trends Aren't Going Anywhere

In 2022 we expect to see consumers continuing to take care of their well-being, and choosing healthier menu options is one piece of the puzzle. From embracing the delicacies of the ocean through seaweed and canned seafood to loving functional foods like immunity-boosting meals and healthy soda alternatives, healthy options are on the brain and trending in the food chain.


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 2022!


Posted in: Foodservice Trends | By Val Goodrich
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