The latest news, views and insights in food trends
Need to know fast what trends are worth paying attention to? Check out some of our thoughts on 2023's trends.
Global attitudes to food have changed, yet menus remain a very clear reflection of the food and beverage landscape. Chefs are renowned for pushing the boundaries of what we imagine flavors to be or tossing the proverbial recipe book out the window when it comes to food preparation methods. More to the point, chefs are able to edit ingredients and menus much faster than in the CPG sector while facing far less fallout from risky decisions. Experimentation for the CPG industry can cost millions of dollars if it backfires, and takes many months to implement. Smaller food service establishments, however, are in a similar position to chefs; with faster sales data available to them, they are often able to get closer to their consumers faster than bigger food service or retail chains. When it comes to accessing data, Tastewise has a finger on the collective pulse of the industry and has seen some interesting recent trends in the fast food industry. These include:
Plant-based options: Many fast food chains are introducing plant-based alternatives to their menu items, such as burgers made with Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods. The trend shows signs of growing and not just vegans the world over are licking their lips in anticipation — Tastewise data shows that consumers overwhelmingly turn to plant-based food for health reasons over animal rights or climate reasons. Food for thought!
International flavors: Fast food chains are going global and incorporating flavors and ingredients from around the world into their menu items, such as shawarma, tikka masala, and Korean barbecue. According to the Tastewise 2023 Trend Report, the opportunity exists for companies to anchor global beverages to familiar flavors in order to capture interest in the market. This is equally true for companies looking to experiment with introducing global flavors to their existing markets. Global flavors and preparation methods are also becoming more mainstream with restaurants even going so far as to use imported ingredients.
According to the Tastewise 2023 Trend Report, 4% of Americans are demanding functional health support from the food and beverage industry. With more nutritional information than ever before available online, consumers are accessing information prior to making food decisions. This has resulted in 18% of Americans being critical of the health benefits of their food and beverage at mealtime.
Limited-time offers and seasonal items: Many chains are offering limited-time items or recipes, such as pumpkin spice lattes or Christmas-themed burgers, to keep customers interested and coming back. Customers have become so accustomed to getting the unexpected from restaurant chains on special occasions that they keep coming back in anticipation and their social media following has reached cult status.
Some interesting dishes that have been seen recently are:
Ingredient pairings worth watching are:
Consumers are looking for more options on fast food menus when it comes to health and sustainability. As a result, fast food chains are focusing on offering healthier options and sourcing ingredients from sustainable sources. Consumers are also looking for unique and innovative menu items, and an increasing number of fast-food chains are responding by introducing limited-time items and incorporating international flavors.