This past week the National Restaurant Assn. released the results of its What’s Hot Culinary Forecast for 2022, which offers a detailed look at the topics, trends, and products expected to drive restaurant menus in the coming year across a variety of categories including daypart occasions, menu categories, beverages, flavors, global inspirations, packaging/off-premises trends and industry macro-trends.
The What’s Hot survey was conducted in October 2021. More than 350 professional chefs of the American Culinary Federation rated 109 food items and culinary concepts compiled by Association experts and Technomic’s Menu Research & Insights Division.
Download the full report here.
After demand for comfort food surged during the height of the pandemic, consumers are refocusing on better-for-you options, with foods that are believed to have immunity-boosting qualities and plant-based sandwiches making up three of the Top 10 Trends for 2022. Plant-based proteins are growing increasingly popular on menus and were listed among the top three items for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Less expensive cuts of protein, such as thighs instead of wings, will have a greater presence in the year to come.
Sustainability will continue to influence menus and how restaurants make decisions across the board. From reusable and recyclable packaging to zero-waste options, restaurants are continuing to prioritize sustainable initiatives. When asked what they thought the hottest culinary trend would be in 2022, more than 86 percent of respondents answered “Sustainability”. Zero waste/sustainability was the top macro trend.
“In addition to a return to health-focused menu offerings and more eco-friendly, improved off-premises packaging, all of which rated high in the top trends, we’re expecting operators to look across their menus for transformative opportunities,” said Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President of Research for the Association.
The top 10 trends for 2022 include: Packaging: Sustainable (reusable/recyclable); Packaging: Food quality, (travels intact); Packaging: Retains temperature; Zero waste/sustainability; Immunity-boosting snacks; Menu streamlining (fewer menu items, cutting SKUs); Immunity-boosting/functional ingredients; Plant-based sandwiches; Packaging: Food security,
(tamper-proof); and Alternative sweeteners, (maple sugar, coconut sugar).
For snacks, immunity-boosting took the top spot. For non-alcoholic drinks, nut milks took the top spot.
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