Menu Trends and the Impact on Menu Planning

menu trends
October 10, 20232 min
Lauren Daniels photo
Lauren Daniels Tastewise

Menu trends are constantly evolving, and restaurants need to stay up-to-date with these trends to remain competitive.

The impact of menu trends on menu planning can greatly affect a restaurant’s success or failure.

This post will explore the importance of menu trends and how they influence menu planning.

Understanding Menu Trends

Menu trends are popular food items, ingredients, flavors, or cooking techniques that gain traction in the food industry.

These trends often start with influential chefs, food bloggers, or social media influencers and then spread to restaurants and consumers.

Keeping up with menu trends allows restaurants to offer unique and exciting dishes that attract new customers and keep regulars interested.

Some current menu trends include plant-based options, global flavors, locally sourced ingredients, and customizable meals.

These trends are driven by factors such as health awareness, sustainability, cultural diversity, and consumer demand for customization.

The Impact on Menu Planning

Menu planning is the process of designing a menu that meets the needs and preferences of customers while also considering operational constraints and cost.

With constantly evolving menu trends, this can be a challenging task for restaurant owners and chefs.

One major impact of menu trends on menu planning is the need to regularly update menus. As trends come and go, restaurants must adapt in order to stay relevant.

This may require sourcing new ingredients, changing cooking techniques, or creating entirely new dishes. This can be both time-consuming and costly for restaurants.

Another impact is the need for research and experimentation. In order to successfully incorporate a trend into their menu, restaurants must thoroughly understand it and how it fits into their concept.

This may involve researching new ingredients or techniques, testing recipes, and gathering customer feedback.

Embracing Menu Trends

Despite the challenges, embracing menu trends can bring many benefits to a restaurant. By offering unique and on-trend dishes, restaurants can attract new customers who are seeking out these popular items.

Additionally, regularly updating menus can keep regular customers interested and coming back for more.

Moreover, incorporating menu trends can also showcase a restaurant’s creativity and innovation. This can help differentiate them from competitors and establish a strong brand identity.

In order to successfully embrace menu trends, restaurants need to strike a balance between following the latest fads and staying true to their concept.

It is also crucial to consider the practicality of implementing these trends, such as the availability of ingredients and cost.

Menu Trends and CPG Companies

Menu trends not only impact restaurants but also have a significant influence on consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies.

These companies produce and distribute food products to be used in restaurants, such as sauces, seasonings, and pre-made items.

As menu trends evolve, CPG companies must adapt their offerings to meet the demand for these new and popular dishes.

To maintain CPG growth and profitability, these companies need to stay ahead of the game and anticipate upcoming menu trends.

Moreover, many CPG marketing strategies revolve around partnering with popular restaurants to showcase their products.

By staying on top of menu trends, CPG companies can strategically align themselves with trendy and successful establishments.

Identifying key food trends influencing menu planning

To begin, businesses must first identify the most relevant and impactful food trends to consider when planning menus. Some key trends impacting the industry in recent years include:

Health-conscious eating

With consumers becoming health-savvy, they expect menus to feature nutritious, balanced, and wholesome options.

Focus on incorporating plant-based, high-protein, low-calorie, and nutrient-dense food and beverage choices.

Local and sustainable sourcing

Consumers appreciate locally sourced ingredients and environmentally friendly practices.

Featuring ingredients from local suppliers and adopting sustainable practices can strengthen your company’s menu appeal.

Customization and personalization

Today’s consumers value options tailored to their individual preferences. Ensuring your menu offers customizable choices or personalized recommendations facilitates a great customer experience.

Global flavors and unique ingredients

Diners are always on the lookout for bold and exciting culinary experiences. Fuse global flavors and exotic ingredients into your menu to engage the adventurous taste buds of consumers.

Leveraging data to inform menu planning decisions

To effectively respond to the changing tides of food trends, companies must have access to real-time, data-driven insights on consumer preferences and behavior.

Tastewise, an AI-driven food intelligence platform, enables food and beverage organizations to stay updated on the latest trends, consumer sentiment, and preferences in their target markets.

The platform provides valuable, actionable insights to help organizations plan their menus and cater to the latest consumer demands, such as:

  1. Trending ingredients and flavor profiles: Tastewise’s data can reveal patterns in the popularity of certain ingredients and flavor combinations, allowing companies to adjust their menus accordingly and ensure they’re offering what consumers crave.
  2. Dietary restrictions and niche food preferences: With the rise of alternative diets and lifestyles, it’s essential to accommodate specific food preferences, such as plant-based, gluten-free, or keto options. Tastewise’s data helps food and beverage companies identify these trends and adjust their offerings to meet these emerging needs.
  3. Seasonal fluctuations: Understanding the ebb and flow of seasonal ingredients and themes allows you to plan a menu that capitalizes on peak availability, maximizing the freshness and appeal of ingredients while potentially reducing costs.
  4. Competitive analysis: Tastewise provides insights into competitors’ offerings, ensuring you can craft a differentiated and superior menu in comparison.

Implementing and Promoting Trend-driven Menus

Once you have identified the food trends best suited to your target audience and have used data-driven insights to inform your menu planning, it’s time to implement the changes and effectively communicate your new offerings. A few strategies for success include:

  1. Transparent communication: Communicate the changes to your menu, emphasizing the value and benefits of your trend-driven offerings. Highlight key attributes like local sourcing, health benefits, or exciting flavors.
  2. Collaborate with influencers or brand ambassadors: Partner with food industry influencers or personalities to help promote your menu changes, leveraging their reach and credibility to connect with a broader audience.
  3. Utilize menu design and visuals: Ensure your menu’s design and layout grab attention while effectively signaling your commitment to the latest food trends. High-quality photos and vivid descriptions can entice customers to try your updated offerings.


Data-driven insights are essential for crafting menus that meet evolving consumer needs and preferences.

By leveraging tools like Tastewise, restaurant owners and chefs can stay ahead of trends, create menu offerings that stand out in a crowded market, and ultimately drive customer satisfaction and loyalty.

With the right strategies in place to implement and promote trend-driven menus, restaurants can attract new customers, retain existing ones, and ultimately thrive in today’s ever-changing food landscape.

So don’t wait, start using data-driven insights to elevate your menu offerings and stay ahead of the game!

What can food intelligence do for you?