Now that the summer has unofficially ended and the kids are back in school, it’s time to look ahead. Just four short months away, and another new year begins. Are you ready to make this the best year yet for your enterprise? If so, now’s the time to start planning.
To help in the endeavor, we’re sharing a few of the restaurant trends and paths the industry is traveling as the fall arrives and 2023 looms ahead. These trends for 2023 were revealed at the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and expo in Chicago. Using AI-generated technology based on more than 28,000 external data sources, such as news articles, blogs, menus, and recipes, Spoonshot predicted rising consumer demand in the following areas.
Seafood Sustainability and Alternatives
Fish and the ecosystems they inhabit continue to decline in most parts of the ocean due to overfishing, climate change, and pollution. According to the United Nations, nearly 90% of the world’s marine fish stocks are fully exploited, overexploited, or depleted. Yet, fish provide 17% of the world’s meat consumption, with 3.1 billion people relying on fish for 20% of their daily protein intake. Additionally, pescetarian and flexitarian diets continue to be on the upswing as more people turn away from traditional protein sources.
Expect to see more of your guests asking questions about where the food your serving comes from and if the seafood is sustainably produced. The Monterey Bay Aquarium offers a Seafood Watch List that lists sustainable seafood options for every species.
Seafood alternatives are also on the rise. This includes plant-based seafood made from ingredients like lentils, peas, fava beans, and soybeans. According to Kishan Vasani, CEO of Spoonshot, consumers also showed interest in banana blossom, seaweed, mushroom, and jackfruit in online discussions centered around seafood substitutes.
The food and beverage intelligence company also reported an increase in conversations centered around natural, healthy, and sustainable foods that are also free of artificial ingredients. This includes a rise in minimally processed plant-based foods with a recognizable, short list of ingredients as well as grass-fed and antibiotic-free meat.
Regenerative agriculture was also mentioned. This practice incorporates holistic principles that restore soils and the ecosystem and strive to leave the land, waters, and climate in better conditions for future generations. While Indigenous communities have farmed in this manner for centuries, it’s only in the last few years that this farming practice has made headlines. In 2019, General Mills announced plans to start sourcing some of its corn, dairy, sugar, and wheat from farmers practicing regenerative agriculture. PepsiCo, Cargill, Walmart, Hormel, Land O’Lakes, and others all plan on adopting or turning to regenerative agriculture farmers.
A poll by Nielsen found that almost half of U.S. consumers would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce the environmental impact. That figure rose to 75% for Millennials, who are also willing to pay more for sustainable or environmentally friendly ingredients.
Mood Altering Foods
As of July 2022, 19 states have legalized recreational marijuana use. In these states, some chefs are experimenting with cannabis, including dosage and strains, to offer customers a unique dining experience. However, remember that cannabis remains federally illegal, which can complicate infused dining options. A bill to federally legalize marijuana passed the U.S. House of Representatives and awaits a vote by the Senate. To work around these restrictions, restaurants are offering CBD-infused drinks or items.
Local Food, Fusion, and Sustainability
According to Hanni Rützler, an Austrian nutritional scientist and food trends researcher, sustainability is the global overarching theme for 2023 food trends. This includes the continued shift to locally and regionally sourced food that results in shorter, more transparent supply chains.
Global fusion cuisine continues to advance in interest and social media mentions. This food combines different culinary traditions from various countries or cultures. An example is Asian fusion which combines cuisines from different Asian countries.
One of the emerging global flavors is chaat masala, an Indian spice mix that combines cumin, coriander, fennel, black salt, black pepper, ginger, mint, and mango powder. Unique peppers from around the world are also taking front and center stage.
What food trends will be new or grow in popularity in 2023?
Some other food trends include transforming classic dishes into vegan or vegetarian meals for the growing non-meat-eating customer segment or those just looking to improve their health. This aligns with the desire for bigger, bolder flavors and unique experiences, including new tastes, smells, and even touches.
What is the fastest-growing segment in the food industry?
Food and beverage is the fastest growing category in online retail, with searches for “food delivery app” increasing by over 100% in the last five years. Another growing trend is robotics, with the search for “Miso Robotics,” the makers of Flippy, the cooking robot, up 85% in the same time frame.