Food is more than sustenance. Food brings people together to connect and fellowship. It builds culture, fosters relationships, and feeds the soul.
However, our food preferences aren’t constant–food trends come and go like other trends.
If you are in the restaurant business, you want to stay on top of current food trends so you can attract more customers and stay creative with your business. But given that trends aren’t stable, that can be difficult!
This article by Pick On Us will tell you all about food trends–helpful tips for staying ahead of the game, how to avoid jumping on short-lived fads, and several items setting the restaurant industry buzzing in 2023.
Let’s get started!
The Difference Between A Large-Scale Food Trend And A Short-Lived Fad
As a business owner, you want to stay up with current large-scale food trends–but you don’t want to jump on every bandwagon that drives by. Keeping up with every passing fad is not sustainable, and trying to do so would exhaust your business.
In reality, an actual trend is defined by a pattern of data points over a period of time. And the period could be years.
For instance, there is a current large-scale trend toward green restaurant practices. That’s a trend that’s been building for years that isn’t going to die next week, so you may want to consider incorporating more green practices at your business over a period of time.
BONUS: If you want to read about the shift toward green restaurant practices, you could read a few of our blog posts on the subject:
- 8 Benefits of Eco-friendly dinnerware [and 3 reasons why it matters]
- 7 Cost-Effective Ways To Make Your Restaurant More Eco-Friendly
- 9 Products to Make Your Restaurant More Eco-Friendly
- How Agave Straws Can Help Us Defeat The Problem Of Plastic
But some trendy items may only be popular for a few months, so pouring too much time and effort into them would exhaust your resources.
We aren’t saying you should never add a popular item to your menu–just don’t use all your resources jumping from item to item and ignoring the larger-scale trends that are developing in the background!
Benefits Of Staying On Top Of Food Trends
Following too many trends can exhaust you, but there are benefits to staying current and incorporating a few of the day’s hottest trends.
These benefits include:
- Attract new customers - People will be looking for a place to get the new item they saw on social media. You could be that place!
- Increase revenue - New items attract more customers and generate more revenue.
- Stay creative - Sure, trends aren’t original because everyone is doing them, but they can get you thinking outside your box. And who’s to say you can’t try the popular fad with an original twist?
- Keep customers engaged - People love something new and exciting! Trying out new and popular items keeps your customers engaged and coming back for the next new thing to try out.
It’s all about finding a balance. You don’t want to exhaust yourself by recklessly latching on to each new, shiny trend you see, but you do want to stay current and creative to keep customers engaged and interested. The right balance is different for each business.
4 Items Predicted To Be Popular In 2023
Nobody can predict the future, and any trend prediction could be inaccurate. However, here at Pick On Us we interact with hundreds of chefs and restaurants around the US every year and we notice trends. These are a few items we think you’ll hear about in 2023.
With the rise of plant-based proteins, mushrooms have had a special debut. According to The New York Times, mushrooms were named the “Ingredient of the Year” for 2022, and it doesn’t look like they’ll hit the wall in 2023!
People love mushrooms for their numerous health benefits, and mushrooms are widely used as a meat-alternative protein because of their luscious taste and meat-like texture.
- Recent research has shown that kelp contains great nutrients like iodine, iron, calcium, magnesium, antioxidants, and more. It’s a healthy, sustaining choice.
- Ocean scientists consider kelp a “zero-input food source,” meaning it takes few resources to grow. It doesn’t take arable land, fresh water, fertilizers, or pesticides, and it can even be done in tandem with shellfish farming, as the kelp improves the water and helps develop larger, sweeter shellfish.
Kelp can be used for various purposes, such as kelp noodles, seaweed salad, and even kelp burgers!
With their green color and unique flavor, pistachios are having a moment this year. From pistachio lattes, pistachio milk, pistachio perfume, or just plain pistachios, there are many ways to use this healthy nut.
Part of their surging popularity is due to their health benefits and high protein concentration. Research shows that pistachios are a complete source of protein (again, it fits the movement towards more plant-based proteins) and rival the antioxidant levels in blueberries, pomegranates, and red wine.
Another component of their recent popularity surge is their sustainability. These drought-resistant nuts can grow with very little water, which is a significant asset in drought-prone places like California.
With health consciousness trending upward, many folks are trying to stay away from alcohol and turning to alcohol alternatives. But that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy a non-alcoholic drink with friends!
Non-alcoholic drinks are on the rise, and chefs are getting more and more creative with them. With a delicious mocktail, you can enjoy your time out with friends while staying healthy, even if you are pregnant, on a fitness regime, or driving home.
Mushrooms, pistachios, kelp, mocktails…these are just a few of the items that will gain popularity in 2023. Maybe you’d like to try some of them at your food business!
But we know that latching onto every food trend you see isn’t a great idea. In the next section, we’ll look at how you can decide which trends you should follow and where to draw the line.
How To Decide Which Trends To Pick
As we said, picking some short-lived trends to implement at your business is OK.
But it’s hard to predict how a trend will play out, and food trend reports are somewhat subjective. It can be difficult to choose which ones you ought to go for.
Here are a few things to think about when you look at food trends to implement at your business:
1 - Stick to your concept
Your concept is the overall theme and defining “feel” of your restaurant. A trend that does not fit your concept is not a trend you want to follow, no matter how shiny it looks. There is no point in changing your concept for a passing fad.
2 - Look at the past
Pay attention to past trends–lots of them come around again. And some people may be looking for a place that still serves their favorite food item from the past, in which case you may gain a loyal customer.
3 - Pay attention to large-scale implications
Some trends mainly affect the local population, while others affect the entire food industry. For example, green and healthy eating is currently an industry-wide trend, while some trends may only affect one geographic area.
4 - Assess affordability
Some trends are harder on your bank account than others (like 24-karat chicken wings, for instance.) Given that trends aren’t normally long-lived, it’s wiser to avoid the ones that require lots of monetary investment.
5 - Be your own trendsetter
It’s OK to go with the flow sometimes, but there’s also a time to be unique and original. You might be the next trendsetter, so don’t be afraid to try out your own ideas!
If you are in the food business, you get to be a culture builder–and sometimes that means going along with a current trend. Just don’t forget to be unique and creative too!
We hope this article helped you think about trends in new ways and familiarized you with a few trends you might see in 2023.
If you want ways to beautifully present your trendy menu items, check out our products here at Pick On Us. We specialize in creating eco-friendly dinnerware that is good for both your business and the earth.
Some of our collections include:
- Eco-friendly Toothpicks
- Eco-friendly Skewers
- Eco-friendly Tableware
- Eco-Friendly Straws
- Custom Designs
Check them all out on our website today, or contact us for more information. We look forward to hearing from you!