As 2016 comes to a close, it makes sense to review what worked, what didn’t and what is on the horizon. Here’s a quick look at some of the trends shaping our industry.
From chefs offering veggie charcuterie boards to vegetarian butcheries (Herbivorous in Minneapolis, Suzy Spoon’s in Sydney, Australia and YamChops in Toronto, Canada) — vegetables are definitely hot. Veggies are also taking center stage in our comfort foods. At home and on-premise, we are seeing beets, cucumbers, carrots and zucchini spiralized into “pasta” noodles and cauliflower – the new “it” vegetable – made into rice and into pizza crust.
The use of cayenne pepper rose 47% in global product launches last year, according to the Baum + Whiteman International Food & Restaurant Consultants. Turmeric, horseradish, saffron and chiles are also gaining momentum. The consultants believe this is largely due to a rise in Southeast Asian cuisines, Indian food, curries and an increase in spicy cocktails on bar menus. Stateside, Nashville made huge waves this year with its signature Hot Chicken. So much so, that even Kentucky Fried Chicken hopped on the bandwagon. The cayenne and chili-laced fried chicken recipe has been a longtime favorite of locals. But now it’s catching on nationwide with Nashville franchises introducing it to other cities like Birmingham (Hattie B’s opened in 2016) and New York where Top Chef alumni Carla Hall opened up Southern Kitchen.
Gastronomy Goes Sky High Still
Sous vide. Molecular. Foams. Mixology. Handcrafted. Artisanal. These are all words you’ll be hearing more of as restaurants and bars create new ways to entice young, uber-upscale spenders seeking a unique food experience not everyone else can have or afford.
Breakfast All Day, Lots of Ways
After McDonald’s began serving breakfast all day, competitors starting mixing things up too. Jack-in-the-Box introduced “Brunchfast” and Starbucks began testing a weekend-only brunch menu in 78 locations. Also changing are food textures and tastes — bland eggs and oatmeal are being replaced with honey-butter fried chicken served in a donut, an English muffin smeared with horseradish aioli and stuffed with smoked kielbasa, a fried egg and cheddar. Or how about tempura chicken, honey, sriracha and scrambled eggs?
Virtual Restaurants & Delivery Services
Cooking at home is also on the rise. With that, we’ve seen a flurry of business start-ups focused on providing home-cooked meals through an Uber-type delivery service. Several operators like Blue Apron, have taken a little different spin — delivering pre-measured ingredients, conveniently packaged and mailed right to your doorstep ― reducing prep time and eliminating a grocery run. EatWith and VizEat also hit the market in the last few years, offering pop-up dinner parties via online registration. Travelers connect with local hosts from around the world who provide an authentic dining experience in their homes. Other companies are exploring drone delivery. But, the verdict is still out on this one.
Stay tuned for Part Two of Food and Beverage Trends for 2017!