Similar to the weather, food trends can be forecasted ahead of time. However, that doesn’t always mean that there won’t be a surprise in store.
In 2021, we had the feta pasta food trend, salmon rice that became viral on TikTok thanks to Emily Mariko, and Lizzo’s fruit cereal. Aside from social media, there were other food trends like vegan options becoming available at Taco Bell. Even the process of how to ship wine is getting some viral attention.
Some TikTok 2021 food trends have become 2022 food trends. However, that’s not all that will be trending for the rest of the year.
In fact, there are some trends that restaurants might want to look into in order to keep up with demand. This is ideal for demand planning and inventory forecasting. Let’s look at what some of the other trends will be.
What Do Food Trends Mean?
The meaning of food trends refers to any consumer behavior shift in the direction of a particular food or meal. Trends are local, regional, or national. Some trends exist for years whereas others are around for a short period of time.
For a food item to be considered a food trend vs. a food fad, it must be identifiable and explainable. Food fads, on the other hand, are unpredictable and will take the market by storm. The hype of food fads accumulates in hours, days, or weeks–most commonly through word of mouth or social media.
Food fads are similar to trends in that they still go viral in one way or another, but they die down after some time. Take cronuts for example. The cronut hype has dissipated, even though people still order them from a food or dessert menu.
Why Are Food Trends Important?
Food is similar to fashion. The trendsetters of the industry include celebrity chefs and major food corporations. With the help of good marketing and the right taste, trends can become well-known amongst other food options.
Competition within the restaurant industry is becoming more and more intense. This is why it’s crucial for restaurants to know about 2022 food trends, restaurant technology trends, and fresh produce trends. It can also be beneficial for them to know about eCommerce trends if they have online ordering functions.
New trends give restaurants a leg up when it comes to customer retention, customer satisfaction, and customer attraction. The average restaurant guest today isn’t the same as one from 10 years ago. These days, diners are more conscious of food quality, food safety, and food sources.
Adapting to customers is crucial in the restaurant business. This is possible by listening to their needs and keeping up with 2022 food trends.
What Influences Food Trends?
Food trends are influenced by a number of factors including health fads and pop culture. In fine dining, chefs often create food trends, and then other restaurateurs will mimic and incorporate them into their own menus.
In some cases, food consultants or a B2B wholesaler of food items that works with restaurants drives the trend. They’ll often help restaurants develop new items to fill holes in their menus using new ingredients and ideas.
Some influences of food trends include:
Recently, people have decided they want more fresh and natural foods. They support communities and farm-to-table concepts as they provide them with a more authentic and artisanal experience. These cultural shifts are one of the main drivers of 2022 food trends, including the evolution of food trucks.
Pop Culture and Social Media
With food magazines, TV shows, and social media platforms, concepts can go viral quickly. People are constantly talking about what foods should be explored, like one of the latest food obsessions, Birria Taco–which happen to be Mexican food appetizers.
People these days, especially younger generations, are more health-conscious which is what’s behind many existing food trends. This creates a need for certain food products that accommodate food allergies and sensitivities. Health consciousness often drives vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free trends.
What Are the 2022 Food Trends?
When a customer flips through a restaurant menu, they expect to see meals reflecting the latest food trends. If you’re a chef or a restaurant manager and are interested in delivering an exceptional customer experience, you should know the food industry trends for 2022.
Here are five leading 2022 food trends:
The factor behind this trend is the COVID-19 pandemic. It made people pay attention to their immunity and also made them more health-conscious. Certain foods have more immune-boosting compounds than others which has caused people to think about their dietary choices.
There has been an increased interest in healthier ingredients. Reports show that people are choosing foods that offer preventative health benefits. This includes when they’re cooking at home and dining out.
Diners are now interested in functional foods that provide extra health benefits aside from essential nutrition. These functional foods include broccoli, blueberries, natural yogurt, spinach, almonds, potatoes, ginger, and citrus fruits. Due to this, restaurants are relying more on locally-sourced wholesale produce.
Over the past few years, plant-based foods have increased in popularity. The plant-based meat products industry is a $20 billion business driven by concerns about the environment l and animal welfare.
Trends show a steady increase in plant-based food consumption starting in 2021 and indicate that the interest will continue throughout 2022. For restaurants, this means that it might be time to reevaluate your menus to see if plant-based items can be added as alternatives.
Oat milk and almond milk have taken the world by storm in recent years. Dairy-free milk isn’t going anywhere, especially in 2022. In fact, there is new dairy-free milk that is on the rise, and it comes from potatoes.
Potato milk trends started in Sweden in February 2022, and it works well in coffee. With that being said, we might see some of the best coffee roasters incorporating it into their menus. They also might include it in some of the best coffee subscription boxes as an extra product. When compared to oat milk, potato milk has a lower carbon footprint. This is because potatoes are very efficient to grow. Other dairy-free milk options that are trending for 2022 include banana, cashew, pea, hemp, and coconut milk.
Chefs believe that 2022 is going to be the year that people start embracing vegetables. This means moving them to the center of the plate, instead of having them on the side.
With wholesale meat prices getting higher, diners being more health-conscious, and a focus on seasonal and local foods, vegetables are going to dominate.
While the spicy food trend isn’t new, it’s still one to mention. Spicy dishes are growing in popularity in many restaurants in 2022.
These include spicy sausages, soups, chicken, grilled shrimp, and meatballs. When it comes to spicy food, a chef’s imagination is limitless.
Working more spices into your restaurant menu can be as simple as adding a delicious sauce that has the heat diners are looking for. Now is the time to embrace and take advantage of new spicy recipes.
Frequently Asked Questions About 2022 Food Trends
What Are Food Trends?
Food trends are changes in food preferences that have gone viral or become popular amongst people over a certain time period. Trends are typically long-lasting, identifiable, and explainable. They’re often discussed online through social media, in magazines, or on TV.
What Influences Food Trends?
Food trend influences can vary in the same ways that the trends do. They’re often initiated by influencers and chefs.
A few common influences of food trends include:
- Cultural shifts
- Pop culture and social media
- Health consciousness
What Are the 2022 Food Trends?
Some 2022 food trends include:
- Immunity boosters
- Plant-based foods
- Dairy-free milk
- Spicy foods