10 Current “Hot” Restaurant Food Trends

Capitalize on these trends in 2022 and beyond:

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1. Plant-Based Diets Growing Like Weeds


What many thought was a fad is now mainstream. People are reducing meat consumption, embracing plant-based diets, and going vegan. In fact, those identifying themselves as “vegan” in the U.S. has increased by 600% in the last three years.

Driving this trend are Millennials who are acutely aware of the impact meat consumption is having on the environment and how animals are treated in the process.

The result? Restaurants are recognizing the need to cater to this growing market and are updating their menus to offer tasty vegan and vegetarian options.

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2. Zero-Waste Cooking Takes Hold


As rapid population growth puts a strain on natural resources and food supplies, the days of wasting food are over. Nose-to-tail and leaf-to-root cooking are gaining momentum, and restaurants are now finding creative ways to make food go further.

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3. Food That’s Good for Your Gut


A growing body of research is finding links between gut bacteria and neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s. A healthy gut is crucial for weight management and combating some diseases.

As awareness grows of the benefits of maintaining gut health, expect gut-friendly foods – pickling, fermenting, prebiotics, and probiotics – to become more and more popular with customers. 

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4. The Demand for Kombucha Set to Rise


Kombucha – fermented sweet tea with a culture of yeast and bacteria – is becoming known for its health benefits. It contains antioxidants and beneficial probiotics and can rid your body of harmful bacteria.

While drinking kombucha is already trendy – with people buying kombucha kits online – this trend will only grow as more people become aware of the benefits and restaurants start offering this tasty drink.

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5. The Growth of Superfood Powders


Although the superfood trend dates back to the early 80s, it was only in the 2000s that it really exploded among the health conscious. This trend is ever-evolving, with new superfoods added every year.

The latest craze? Superfood powders, like maca root (the ancient South American superfood), cacao, ground turmeric, and mushroom powder.

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6. “Paleo” Foods Take Center Stage


With many embracing the paleo diet, food products that identify as “paleo” are gaining prominence. But what exactly is the paleo diet? 

Often referred to as the “hunter-gatherer” diet, paleo typically includes foods you can acquire through — yes, you guessed it— hunting and gathering. These include lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

The diet stems from the idea that modern human bodies haven’t adequately adjusted to processed, farmed foods. While this diet is promoted as a way to improve health and lose and manage weight, others would argue it’s restrictive and even extreme, pointing to the dangers of following it strictly.

Regardless of your opinions on the full diet, you should be aware that paleo foods are on the rise. As a restaurant owner, adding these foods to your menu could boost your traffic and sales.

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7. Cold Brew Coffee Set to Explode


According to Statista, cold brew coffee sales rose to $38.1 million in 2017, a whopping 370% increase from the $8.1 million sales in 2015.

The popularity has already captured the attention of giants like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts who now heavily promote their cold brew drinks.

But how is cold brew different than iced coffee?

While iced coffee is brewed hot and then poured over ice, cold brew uses time instead of heat, letting the drink steep for about half a day at room temperature.

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8. Non-Alcoholic Beers: A New, Exciting Drink?


Drinking habits are changing.

As Generation Z and late Millennials begin to better understand the health risks of over-indulging in booze, many are choosing to put down the bottle. Believe it or not, alcohol-free drinks are a new trend that’s about to explode.

Restaurants are already starting to cater to this demand, especially within the non-alcoholic beer category. In fact, according to a report by Research and Research, “The global non-alcoholic beer market is expected to provide sustainable growth opportunities during the forecast period from 2017 to 2025.”

Non-alcoholic beer hasn’t been as popular in the U.S. as it has Europe. But that’s mostly due to limited options and flavor profiles which, quite frankly, haven’t been that appealing. This is changing.

Breweries are experimenting and producing more alcohol-free beers in response to growing demand. It’s only a matter of time before you find a non-alcoholic beer you want to drink!

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9. Alternative Coffee Brewing Is In


Modern coffee is evolving.

Across the board, people want amazing experiences, have more discerning tastes, and are looking to build their knowledge – especially in the world of coffee.

To satisfy this evolution, coffee shops, roasteries, and restaurants are focusing on craftsmanship and alternative coffee brewing methods. They’re also drawing customers fully into the coffee world by showing them how to make these carefully crafted brews.

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10. Understanding a Food’s Origin


Customers increasingly care about sustainability and how animals are treated in the production of food. They want to know what’s in their food, how it was made, and where it’s from.

As a result, we’re seeing restaurants become more discerning about the vendors they work with. They want to partner with suppliers who support sustainability, care about the environment, and share the same values.

We also see more restaurants updating their menus to reflect this, with menu descriptions that include “grass-fed” and “free range.” This growing awareness of means restaurants need to make these changes or possibly face a backlash from customers who won’t frequent their establishments.

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