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December 22, 2015

2016 Food Trends

Korean food will be popular in 2016
As we approach the end of 2015, we have to admit this has been an interesting year for food. Labeling regulations have inspired restaurateurs to take a fresh look at their menus. The search for fresh, new flavors has inspired crazy concoctions like a Bloody Mary topped with a slider, bugs packed as snacks, black hamburgers for Halloween, and cotton candy grapes in mainstream grocery stores. With all the happenings of 2015 in mind, here are our trend predictions for 2016.

  • Paired Cocktail Dinners
    Consumers have been flocking to wine and beer dinners for years. As the cocktail craze continues to grow with savory cocktails, beer-based cocktails, house-infused tinctures and super-food-based libations, restaurants will begin to offer cocktail dinners with a creative libation matched to each course.
  • Stealth Health
    Recent focus on nutrition labeling, sodium labeling, etc., is leading chefs to look for healthier ways to prepare food. They aren’t necessarily calling it out on the menu, but they’re making better choices. This is happy news for those of us who love dining out but would like to not weigh 1,000 pounds.

  • Breakfast All Day
    McDonald's sparked interest in a brand that had been stagnating by introducing all day breakfast and over the course of 2016 we suspect other restaurants will follow suit. We certainly aren't complaining. An egg sammy makes just as good a lunch or dinner as it does day starter, and French toast makes a delicious shared dessert.

  • Delivery
    Uber is dropping off pizzas and ice cream on demand and Amazon is delivering groceries. Busy customers want their food brought to them and they want it fast. As more apps  make delivery easier (GrubHub, Yelp Eat24, Eat Street), there will be a rise in restaurants making adding it to the menu. Allowing customers to order online, pay and pick up in-store will also continue to grow.

  • Meatless Mains
    As millennials overtake baby boomers, menus will continue shift. Not every customer want’s that big honkin’ steak anymore. Artisan mushrooms, beans, beets, etc., will take center stage replacing protein and meat will be used more sparingly as a condiment. Beet carpaccio, anyone?

  • Bye Bye, Noodles
    With carb-conscious, paleo and gluten-free customers increasing in population, restaurants are looking for starch alternatives. “Farroto” will replace risotto, spaghetti squash will show up instead of actual spaghetti, and spiralizer will be come part of the common kitchen vocabulary.

  • Clean Eating On The Go
    This year many national chains increased or announced a focus on removing GMOs, antibiotics, artificial flavors and chemicals in favor of organic, natural, local, and traceable. As mainstream chains make these pronouncements, independents who weren't already in this camp will be pressured to pack up and move to "greener" pastures.

  • Poke Pokes Around
    Traditionally ahi tuna served over rice and seasoned with sesame seeds and seaweed, this appetizer is showing up on all kinds of menus with all sorts of spins. One restaurant we recently visited had a build-your-own poke menu featuring diced tuna mixed with a variety of condiments and sauces, then served on the customer's choice of coconut rice or lettuce wraps.

  • Hot Sauce Passion
    Over the last two years Sriracha sizzled across the nation and whet consumers' appetites for spice. Mouth pyromania won't die down anytime soon. In order to feed the fire, restaurants will produce house-made hot sauces (and sell them to go) and look for unique products that combine fresh flavors with heat. Think harissa, dukka, ghost pepper, sambal, etc.

  • Upscale Peasant Food
    Using the whole animal (and the whole vegetable) with no waste has been big for a while and we sufficiently stuffed our faces with chicken skin appetizers in 2015. Continuing the trend of taking dishes that were once favored by poorer classes and making them fancy, dumpling joints, upscale hot dog joints, meatballs, bao, artisan bread shops, torta trucks, biscuit bakeries, porridge, and of course the already celebrated ramen, will continue to show up.

  • Funky Fusion
    Fusion has been a thing for a while, but as millennials seek out new flavors chefs will continue to get more creative. Think fried chicken bao, ramen with Southern-style barbecue brisket, pondicherry escargot at Indian restaurants, mole-style hot dogs... we have to stop before we take a bite of the keyboard.

  • Indian and Korean Foods
    Most Asian food has already had its heyday, but Indian and Korean still haven't fully enjoyed the limelight. In 2015 both were introduced to consumers via a few fast casual restaurants, and in 2016 the styles will continue to grow both through traditional restaurants and their quick-serve siblings. Both cuisines are naturally low in fat and easily adaptable for various dietary restrictions, making them a natural focus for the coming year.

  • Cocktails To Go
    Yes, in most states it's still illegal to sell road sodas. However, as customers want to create craft cocktails at home, restaurants will start to sell all the fixings pre-mixed and ready to take home. Just add booze. We are expecting this invention to significantly up our cocktail party game.

Comments

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anything low in fats is goo for me and i like it

I love Korean food. Yes, they're low in fat (they're not a fan of oily food). Plus, they always have healthy side dishes!

i like the foods

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