2022 is drawing to a close, which means it’s time to make some predictions for food trends in 2023! The restaurant industry saw a variety of fads and crazes over the past year. Let’s get a head start on satisfying our customers’ cravings for ‘23 by learning from what worked in ‘22! By doing so, we can satisfy our customers’ cravings moving forward.
Many of the restaurant industry’s trends in 2022 were innovative, but challenges related to rising food costs and supply chain issues persist. Should these factors continue into 2023, meeting customer demands to ensure revenue outpaces operating costs will be increasingly important. To help your restaurant beat the competition, the Future Foods team has collected our top food trend predictions for 2023! Use these to gain a head start on succeeding in the new year.
Trend Prediction #1: Butter Boards
If you use TikTok, you’ve probably heard of this craze before. Butter boards – serving boards spread with butter and assorted toppings – are well on their way to becoming a kitchen staple thanks to Instagram influencer Justine Doiron. Butter boards are easily customizable, and by adding your own toppings to different kinds of spreadable bases, you can make new boards of your own!
When paired with bread, butter boards can be a fantastic addition to your restaurant’s starters. Make a statement with your butter boards by adding unique, memorable touches. Play around with spreads, toppings, and serving boards, and find the perfect combination for your customers’ tastes. Butter boards are cheap to create, easy to modify, and a tasty way to show off your business’s flair. Get inspired to create your own boards with the #butterboard hashtag on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube!
Trend Prediction #2: East Asian Food
East Asia has a diverse array of cultures and cuisines, many of which have recently been taking off in the Western mainstream. Maybe it’s because of the delectable flavors common in these cuisines – sweet-and-spicy swicy, umami, or zingy citrus – or the influx of Eastern ingredients on domestic shores. Either way, there’s no doubt the popularity of East Asian cuisine in the West will continue to grow in 2023.
One of the most popular elements of East Asian cuisine is customizability. It can be adapted to meet various tastes, serving methods, and flavor profiles. This flexibility is key for restauranteurs looking to stand above the crowd with their own East Asian menus. By changing, fusing, and updating old classics, chefs can make traditional meals into signature dishes!
Trend Prediction #3: Non-Alcoholic Beverages
Everyone likes to grab a drink with their friends after work, but many diners are taking alcohol out of the equation these days. Non-alcoholic brews and cocktails became extremely popular in 2022, and the no/low alcohol category CAGR is expected to grow by 23% over the next four years as 22% of people say they’re “drinking less.” Many bars and restaurants are responding to the demand for low and non-alcoholic beverages with fun, new drinks menus.
Compounding the non-alcoholic trend is the rise of the “sober bar”: bars that offer hand-crafted, zero-proof drinks in addition to typical brews. Sober bars are opening up across the U.S.A in trendy cities like Austin, Denver, and Los Angeles, becoming huge hits with Millennials and Gen Z.
Clever restaurateurs won’t have trouble taking advantage of this mocktail frenzy. Non-alcoholic drinks are easy to make and serve, and, without the addition of expensive spirits, can be extremely profitable. This is especially true in online delivery. Canned and bottled beverages are simple to package and make great branding opportunities! Get creative with your low- and no-alcohol drinks, and find ways to pair them with your food. You might just stumble onto a new signature combo!
Trend Prediction #4: Cannabis Cooking
As popular attitudes continue to shift around cannabis, many chefs are using the leafy green to punch up their plates. Recipes featuring cannabis are regularly featured in major food magazines, and several restaurants across the U.S. are making the plant central to their menu. Cannabis’s taboo is popular with Millennials and Gen Z, and many think it will drive the next food revolution in 2023.
Cannabis meals are now an extremely lucrative industry in the U.S.A., with American hemp-derived food and drinks expected to reach about $7 billion in sales by 2027. Restaurateurs across the country are taking advantage of this demand, and many major cities (like Houston, Tennessee, and Nashville) are opening their first cannabis restaurants. Cocktails, baked goods, pizza, and more are all receiving the CBD treatment and allow owners to employ their creativity. A new world of herbal cuisine is sure to get customers excited!
Serving cannabis in any form on your menu is sure to turn heads, but if you live in an area where it’s legal, it can be a major marketing asset. Like any other ingredient, cannabis can be prepared in many ways, making an eye-catching garnish on new and traditional dishes. Treat cannabis as a flavor enhancer and a promotional tool, and your restaurant will definitely draw attention.
Good for the Planet, Good for You
Trend Prediction #5: Plant-Based Dining
The popularity of vegan and vegetarian cuisine has skyrocketed throughout the early 2020s, and many diners – and restaurants – are eager to jump on the bandwagon in 2023. There are many reasons to adopt a plant-based diet: ethical concerns and climate change are hot topics among Millennials and Gen Z, who are the most likely to cut back on meat.
At a time when rising food costs are common, vegetarian meals are typically much cheaper to cook than their carnivorous alternatives, and offering more of them can reduce inventory costs. Consider the meat substitute industry, as well, which is poised to gross over $12 billion by 2029. Taking advantage of this explosive growth can keep your restaurant trendy, profitable, and ethical! No matter which ingredients you use, customers always appreciate great flavors at great prices, so make quality your top priority.
Trend Prediction #6: Mushrooms
The humble toadstool: iconic, versatile, and delicious. Mushrooms became a key player in the mainstream health and wellness conversation throughout 2022, and it’s clear to see why. As one of the very few non-animal sources of vitamin D, they are a critical component of a vegetarian diet. Of course, there’s no need to limit mushrooms to plant-based diners. They’ve been essential to French and Italian cooking for decades, and add earthy flavors to all types of meals.
Did you know that there are over 40 different kinds of edible mushrooms? With that sort of variety, any restaurateur can find a way to put flavorful fungi on their menus! Mushrooms pair superbly with pasta, red meat, and green vegetables, and are adaptable to any kind of culture and cuisine. Choose the mushroom that’s right for your restaurant, and you’ll find that it makes a tasty and popular treat for your customers.
Trend Prediction #7: Sustainable Food
Today’s consumers are conscious of the environmental impacts of their favorite restaurants, and many take sustainability into heavy consideration when selecting a meal. Modern diners want to know that what they’re eating is eco-conscious, and they’re not afraid of rejecting businesses that don’t meet their standards.
This trend comes from an increased awareness of unethical practices in the restaurant industry, with many customers feeling uncomfortable about supporting these activities. By demonstrating sustainable practices, restaurateurs offer patrons a guilt-free dining experience. Federal governments are also evaluating the restaurant industry’s sustainability and have already enacted policies to reduce waste in the kitchen.
As a restaurateur, there are many ways that you can do your part to stay ethical and profitable! Take advantage of your local suppliers. They can serve as powerful ingredient providers without excessive shipping costs. Eliminate waste where you can: use reusable or recyclable packaging, and use only as much as an item requires to maintain your food quality standards. Think through your existing processes, and see if sustainability-focused improvements can be made. Your customers – and the Earth – will thank you!
Keep your brand popular with these 2023 food trends!
Each of these trends can help your restaurant lead the pack in today’s delivery marketplace. Figure out which ones best match your business, and use them to complement and amplify your existing marketing efforts. Remember: customers love forward-thinking eateries, but there’s no better way to keep them coming back than with excellent food!
Future Foods operators are always the first to know about the newest trends rocking the restaurant industry. Book a demo with Future Foods now and enhance your business with top-class virtual brands!