New Year, New Trends

Just for Kicks prides itself on being at the forefront of food—and with the new year, comes new food trends. And while we aren’t saying these are the end-all-be-all for 2023, we do think the categories inspired by these trends are going to experience a lot of growth in the foodservice industry.

Sustainability & Transparency

It’s not new news that people want better food for themselves and the planet—but a new term from the New York Times captures a change in this mindset. “Regenivores” demand more from food companies, only buying from those who are actively working towards a better planet. Companies need to be more progressive and transparent about their carbon-reducing efforts, animal welfare policies and the treatment of their employees if they want to capture these consumers.

Climate-hero ingredients to watch for include teff, fava and lupin beans. Upcycling will also gain momentum in foodservice, with the creation of food products from spent grains or other discarded ingredients, addressing an ongoing concern of food waste.

Experience Eating

The new year is bringing in the liberation of eating experiences. Consumers are looking for interaction and excitement, from dishes finished tableside to cocktails that offer more than just a mix of liquids. Restaurants with communal dining or family meal styles can expect to be popular as people strive to be together again.

Automated food experiences are seeing growth in this space, such as Stellar Pizza, a pizza-making robot that travels in a food truck, or RoboBurger, a vending machine that makes fresh burgers. And of course, meal kits will continue to explode as people search for immediacy and quality in their on-the-go lifestyles.

Nostalgic Twists

The classics are the classics for a reason, but in the upcoming year, those old favorites can expect a twist into something new. Consumers want the familiar with a fresh take, such as an upgrade on the dirty shirley cocktail, revitalized hand pies, or elevated pizza toast.

One friendly flavor that continues to see menu transformation is s’mores, featured in recipes like cold brew coffee, s’mores shakes or funnel cakes. But no matter what it is, transformation is ahead for this category during the next year.

Global Flavors

Consumers want to experience more of the world in their daily lives. While not everyone can escape to far-off places, these cultures are coming to life in flavor exploration. Chefs are using ingredients, techniques and dishes that are reflective of their culinary roots.

Southeast Asian food fusions are becoming more popular, including experiments with fermentation. Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors are finding their way into non-traditional dishes. Indian cuisines are expanding into the fast casual scene in restaurants such as Rasa. And West African foods will have their moment this year as new flavor cues come out of their traditional roots. 

Courtesy of the Esrock Partners “Just for Kicks” Team: Lucy Staszel, Samantha Gallagher, Aleksandra Kostic, Shawn Rudolph, Karolina Urbas, Morgan Behrens, Logan Scott, Julia Para & Ella Shirk

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