10 restaurant and food predictions for 2023

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Almost every major change in the way we eat starts out as a fad, which is really just a shared moment among a subset of diners or cooks that gains traction. Some fads are slowly dying out, like wine coolers or molecular gastronomy. Others suddenly implode, like turmeric lattes or the pink sauce that took off like a rocket on TikTok this year and then exploded.

There are fads that turn into trends and then weave themselves into the fabric of our day. Who knew that a fringe interest in bespoke roasted coffee beans in 1960s Berkeley, California would lead to Starbucks?

It’s hard to tell what’s fleeting from what’s lasting, but that doesn’t stop many people from trying. I combed through dozens of reports and press releases and interviewed the best food analysts in the game to peek into the crystal ball of 2023.

In times of inflation, climate change and global tensions, some forecasts look bleak. “We’re tired,” said Jennifer Zegler, director of food and beverage at global market research group Mintel.🇧🇷 “Simplicity, versatility, escapism and resourcefulness are our trends for this year.”

Not everything is desolation. High-quality gelatin shots, brightly colored plates and packaging that evoke the 70s are all the rage. Foods and drinks that make you feel healthier will continue to proliferate as well. “People want something fun, they want something new and they want something natural,” said Claire Lancaster, who forecasts food and beverage trends for WGSN.

Here are 10 interpretations of tea leaves.

Embrace the brine. Fresh, uplifting marine flavors spawned a craze for coastal cocktails garnished with crab claws and oysters. Dan Levy, the actor and host of “The Big Brunch,” is making Clamato cool. Sea vegetables like seaweed and sea creatures like uni have secured spots on several trending lists.

Calling yourself a climacteric is so 2022. The new term is regenerative. It is no longer about eating sustainably, which implies a state of preservation of what is. A new generation wants food from companies that are actively healing the planet through low-carbon agriculture, stricter animal welfare policies and equal treatment of the people who grow and process food.

Look for big changes to reduce packaging waste. More chefs will use what Mintel calls “weather hero ingredients” such as teff, fava beans and lupine, and more customers will choose foods and drinks that improve their health and that of the planet. Even the alcohol industry has started using words like eco-alignment. “These companies don’t just want to be seen as doing the right thing on a daily basis,” said Joan Driggs, who studies retail and consumer packaged goods trends for IRI, a data analytics firm. “They really want to be seen as making a positive difference.”

Chicken skins have been trying to eliminate chicharrones for a while now, but this could be their year. Riding the wave of an obsessive interest in all forms of fried chicken, crispy chicken skins are the base for nachos in pop-ups and seasoned and seasoned as appetizers in restaurants. Rising chicken prices have chefs looking for ways to get more of the bird. Asian kitchens that regularly use chicken skins are providing culinary inspiration.

Chris Moyer, Perdue’s executive chef, has placed the skins at the top of his list of most promising chicken products and likes them in place of croutons in salads or as wigs for roasts. And then there’s the crunch factor, which more than 70% of consumers say they look for in a snack, said Denise Lefebvre, senior vice president of R&D at PepsiCo Foods. “People love crisis,” she said. “Anything that broadens the senses is big right now.”

Japanese food is the cuisine that all other cuisines most want to live with. “Chefs around the world, many of Japanese descent, are fusing Japanese ingredients or cooking techniques with foods they love in their surroundings,” according to AF&Co and Carbonate, two San Francisco-based companies that collaborate on an annual hospitality trends report. .

In New York, Kimika restaurant is a popular practitioner of itameshi, the combination of Italian and Japanese cuisine. Nikkei, the blend of Peruvian and Japanese cuisines, is on display at places like Causita in Los Angeles, where Peruvian potatoes replace sushi rice. At Ethel’s Fancy in Palo Alto, California, a fourth-generation Japanese-American chef is defining Californian-Japanese cuisine. Even Nordic chef René Redzepi is getting on the bandwagon: His next expensive Noma pop-up will be in Kyoto.

Inflation, fears of climate change and growing concerns about waste and overconsumption are generating a new interest in frugality. “People are no longer embarrassed and hiding their coupons,” Lancaster said. Social media is awash with money-saving tips in the kitchen and menu tricks for getting cheaper items at Starbucks and other restaurants. It is hoped that energy costs, both monetary and environmental, will convince home cooks to increase their use of small appliances such as microwaves, deep fryers and electric kettles, rather than turning on the oven. Private label supermarkets and restaurants offering shorter, more premium menus are picking up speed. “Expect a stronger focus on durability, flexibility and timelessness as consumers look to buy less and own products that last longer and serve multiple purposes,” writes Simon Moriarty, director of Mintel Trends, in his report on the year ahead.

Ube, a nutty, vanilla-scented purple yam from the Philippines, is popping up on many trending lists and in all manner of foods and beverages, from pies and waffles to lattes and ube coladas. It easily made the list of colors and flavors that capture the mood of 2023 compiled by food processing giant ADM. The yam’s popularity hinges on interest in brightly colored, natural foods such as dragon fruit, lychee, and Peruvian purple corn. Also on the rise: floral flavors like vetiver and ylang-ylang.

Just as the Apollo era popularized the Tang and freeze-dried ice cream, a renewed interest in space travel will influence how we eat and drink in 2023. Anything related to space will be big as people seek the optimism and inspiration they seem. have a limited supply on Earth. There are already climate-friendly Moonshot cookies (the wheat was grown using regenerative methods) and Starlight, a limited-release Coke beverage that calls itself “space-flavored.” (What exactly does space taste like has sparked a deep debate online.) The “Top Chef” contestants cooked for astronauts this year. Experiments in growing food in space will fuel interest in vertical gardening and vegetables that can grow in stressful environments on Earth.

“The undiscovered novelty of outer space will have a particularly untainted charm for Gen Z, who are disillusioned with the world as it is,” said Mintel’s Zegler. “But brands should also consider the inspiring role that space will play in the lives of Gen Alphas.”

After nearly three years of restricted social interaction and ordering, people will look for restaurants that offer interaction, excitement and a little show. Look for more dining room trolleys, elaborate ice sculptures, flaming desserts like Baked Alaska and cocktails finished off at the table with a puff of smoke or a change of color. Food and music will mix in new ways, like updated versions of the old piano bar. “There’s a quest for interaction,” said Andrew Freeman, a veteran of hospitality public relations in San Francisco. “People are willing to spend, but they will look for the value proposition of the experience. Engagement is the watchword.”

Nigerian food, with its rich and varied layers, will be a rising star in the United States, as chefs and diners unfamiliar with West African cuisine begin to understand it from a regional perspective, as well as the general interest. for Italian cuisine ended up leading to an appreciation for Tuscan or Sicilian cuisine.

In Brooklyn, Nigerian chef Ayo Balogun’s Department of Culture offers an experience that is as much dining as it is restaurant. Kwame Onwuachi is toying with a version of egusi stew at Tatiana, which just opened at Lincoln Center. Fonio, a drought-resistant African grain that suggests a marriage between couscous and quinoa, is being championed by chefs like Pierre Thiam and Alon Shaya. Even Mexican food is getting a Nigerian twist. At Naija Boy Tacos in Sacramento, Nigerian-American chef Rasheed Amedu is serving goat curry in cassava tortillas and seasoning chicken with the street kebab seasoning called suya.

Understandably, communal eating has fallen out of favor during the pandemic, and not many people are ready to go back to buffets or reach for the same bag of chips. But analysts see change coming. “If you look at our lives for a few years, we didn’t share because sharing was considered dangerous,” she said. Mrs. Lefebvre from PepsiCo Foods. “Now, the sense of community has never been stronger.”

That’s partly why his company introduced Minis in November, tiny versions of snacks like Cheetos and Sun Chips in tins that make it easy to slip some into a friend’s hand. It’s also behind the growing popularity of appetizer and dessert towers and large-format cocktails like the $100 Disco Mule served in a large disco ball at Tipsy Alchemist in Austin, Texas. And there may be no better indication of the growing popularity of food for a crowd than the continued growth of food served at a communal table that began with the charcuterie craze.

The vibe goes beyond the products. Restaurants, moving out of the pandemic into a new era of employee respect and community love, are sharing more information about the people behind the food, whether it’s listing the names of the entire staff on the menu, as some restaurants call farms or, in the This is the case with Hi Felicia, a new breed of upscale local restaurant in Oakland, Calif., that encourages diners to get to know the entire staff by name.

Call these trends: In the beverage category, American holly yaupon tea is on many lists for 2023, along with coffee drinks made with pureed fruit and milk, or toasted in a style called white coffee. Avocados will go from toast to cocktails and desserts, and avocado oil will be a favorite cooking medium. In alcoholic trends, note the Mexican spirit called sotol and a retro interest in Galliano liqueur. Casual restaurants will experiment with monthly subscriptions and fine dining with aged fish. Fermentation continues its march to the top of many lists, with ingredient-free ingredients like bee-free honey and cocoa-free chocolate.

Audio produced by Tally Abecassis🇧🇷