Trends are known to change quickly, especially with new years and seasonal shifts. As we get further into 2022, certain trends in food are starting to stand out. Food delivery remains popular. Healthier foods and drinks are becoming more common. And after a pandemic that frequently numbed tastebuds, people want interesting flavor options. Learn about these top five food trends that will rule 2022 and how you can implement them in your business.
The first food trend we’ve noticed this year isn’t technically about the food itself—it’s all about the preparation. Ghost kitchens are kitchens with no restaurants designed specifically for off-campus consumption. Sometimes, multiple kitchens will also work out of the same space, often on the edge of cities. For these businesses, there’s no point in paying extra to be in the city when they have no storefront.
The rise of ghost kitchens in recent years is largely due to the pandemic and food delivery apps. People still wanted to eat their favorite foods even though their favorite restaurants’ storefronts were closed. Ordering through delivery apps made that possible, and it’s continued to be a trend. Allowing a ghost kitchen to run out of your restaurant kitchen or just offering delivery through apps can help you keep up with this trend in 2022. If you’re worried that food delivery apps will cut into your revenue, offer patrons local delivery through your website.
As we focus more on mental and physical health this year, some people are cutting back on or completely giving up alcohol. But since they still want to be social adults, though, non-alcoholic spirits are rising in replacement. The idea is to cut out the alcohol without compromising flavor so that patrons can still enjoy a glass of wine that tastes like wine, not grape juice. Thankfully, brands are picking up on this trend and producing non-alcoholic spirit options from botanicals, herbs, nuts, barks, and seeds.
Restaurants that already serve alcoholic beverages should consider stocking some non-alcoholic options to satisfy interested consumers. Again, people want to avoid the negative effects that alcohol can have while still enjoying the social activity and atmosphere of bars and restaurants. Offering non-alcoholic drink options will help these patrons feel welcome and can introduce new people to your space who may not have visited if this option were not on the menu.
Other people want to enjoy the flavor of drinks at home or host parties with non-alcoholic options. To follow this trend, grocery stores and gas stations should also stock non-alcoholic drink options to serve these customers.
The term “flexitarian” refers to people who eat flexible diets consisting of mostly vegetarian or vegan options with some traditional meat. These diets reflect an interest in health and plant-based protein and have been growing in popularity since 2014. They may be hitting trend status now due to the inflation of traditional meat costs.
Some scientists encourage these diets to help fight climate change through food sustainability and pollution reduction. The idea is that large-scale meat production, especially with red meat, hurts the environment. Cutting down on this protein source can allegedly reduce greenhouse gases and pollutants such as fertilizer. Certain stores advertise ethically sourced, environmentally friendly meat, but many people complain about the cost. Opting for alternative protein sources mitigates both the environmental and financial effects of eating better.
To stay on top of this trend, restaurants should offer easy protein swaps, especially for red meat. Beans, tofu, lentils, seeds, quinoa, and nuts are all popular protein choices for flexitarians and should be for restaurants as well.
With supply chain issues arising during the pandemic, food fusion rose as well. When shoppers couldn’t get the exact ingredients they needed for a recipe, they swapped in other options, and new fusions were born. The internet perpetuated the trend as people took to social media platforms to share their creations.
One example you may remember is the wrap hack. This TikTok trend cut a tortilla halfway down the middle so it could easily fold in fourths for a less messy version of a quesadilla. Almost immediately, people began using their own favorite wrappers, like nori and rice paper, to create new versions of the viral recipe. This blended traditional quesadilla fillings with the other ingredients creators had on hand.
Restaurants can take advantage of this trend by offering food fusion on their own menu. What type of food do you already sell? What new, complementary flavors can you introduce? For example, while perogies are traditionally European, most Asian cultures have similar dumplings. You could swap or blend the traditional fillings for a new fusion that will stand out to clients and keep you on-trend.
New Flavor Combos
Food fusion has gotten people interested in new flavor combinations. It can be difficult to put flavors together that have never been done before, and mixing some flavors can be a disaster. If you focus on what locals in your area haven’t gotten to experience yet, though, you’ll be able to stay on-trend. You don’t even have to mix flavors across cultures—just introduce new flavors and flavor combinations to your clientele.
Desserts are attempting this by mixing sweet and spicy. Chocolate and cayenne, vanilla and cardamom, caramel and black pepper—the list goes on. McDonald’s captured this trend ahead of its time in China, offering chili oil as a topping for its vanilla soft serve. Chili oil was already a common topping in the area—but for noodles. By mixing chili oil with vanilla soft serve, McDonald’s took two popular flavors and offered them in a new way. Look at the flavor options you already have, and see if new combinations are possible.
Ghost kitchens, non-alcoholic spirits, flexitarian menus, food fusions, and new flavor combinations are the top five food trends that will rule 2022. While new trends are certain to arise as the year goes on, these are strong starters that are sure to stick around. DSL can help make sure you have the right food service equipment to handle these trends. We can also help with other food service equipment needs in Edmonton and elsewhere in Western Canada so that your equipment can handle any trends that come your way.