Food and restaurant consultants Baum+Whiteman shared the hottest trends that will take over the food and beverage industry next year.
1. Plant-based foods go mainstream.
As consumers – mainly Millennials, Gen X, and Gen Z – shift to plant-based diets, restaurants are meeting the growing demand for meatless dishes. According to market research firm Mintel, between 2012 and 2016 there has been a 25 percent increase in vegetarian claims and a 257 percent rise in vegan claims in new products in grocery stores. Expect to see more restaurants offering options like vegan cheese for burgers and pizza, meatless entrees like the popular Impossible Burger, or vegan frozen desserts.
2. Three next-wave cuisines from unexpected destinations.
From the Philippines, expect to see more dishes like lumpia, sisig, longganisa, and kare-kare as Google searches for Filipino food have doubled since 2012, Baum+Whiteman said. Indian food offerings will move beyond the standard curry towards fast-casual street food, with options like tandoori chicken poutine or spicy lamb burritos or chicken masala pizza. Upscale Korean restaurants are the next big thing, incorporating fermented food, umami, and lots of spice into complex dishes.
3. The avocado toast craze isn’t going away just yet.
The popular dish from 2017 will live on into next year, but restaurants are going artsy with the avocado dishes.
4. “Flavor injectors” mix things up.
Sweet and spicy flavor make unexpected appearances in food, from Sriracha mayonnaise to jelly-swirled Nutella into sushi and donuts.
5. One-item restaurants make a comeback.
Quirky restaurant concepts are popping up all over the U.S. – think Poke-only eateries or bacon-dedicated shops. Baum+Whiteman highlighted an all-cream cheese restaurant that opened earlier this year in New York's East Village; and XO Marshmallow Cafe in Chicago, serving marshmallow-based variations on s'mores, lattes and affogatos (a coffee-based dessert).
6. The next ramen.
A broth-less version of ramen, mazemen is a noodle dish topped with traditional or unconventional flavors, including bacon and eggs; chili oil and tahini; or pork.
7. Liquored up desserts.
Part alcoholic beverage, part frozen dessert, these new concoctions are popping up everywhere from Disney Springs serving red wine slushies, to Suga and Ice in Georgia with its strawberries and champagne ice cream. Other popular options include boozy popsicles and Frose (frozen Rose).