Last week, thanks to social media, we were able to get a peek inside the International Association of Culinary Professionals 37th Annual Conference.
The photos and Tweets posted about the emerging trends in food were especially intriguing. There were a couple of interesting new terms like “nose to tail,” “sea to table,” “root to stalk,” and “farm to glass.” Paleo, gluten-free and hybrid popped-up, too.
Top 10 Food & Beverage Predictions 2015
Nordic food is trending
What are trends and why should you care?
Trends are new ideas and concepts in everything from fashion to fitness to food that start out small, gain traction with early adopters, then get embraced by more people and become mainstream. Trends typically fill an unmet need in the marketplace – gluten-free menu options, for example. In the food world, trends can come from globalization, economic conditions, changing palates, new flavors and clever chefs.
Why should you pay attention to trends you might ask? Your customers and potential new customers will be looking for food that follows the trends. It can also be an opportunity to keep your menu fresh and new.
How to add food trends to your restaurant.
While big companies may have to spend months looking for trends, playing with ingredients, taste-testing and getting approval, you can begin adding trends you’ve spotted immediately, even if they’re not a perfect fit with your concept. Some restaurants like to introduce an ingredient, or flavor to a dish to add a hint of a trend. You can also mash-up a classic dish with a new trend. For example, if you’re an Italian restaurant that specializes in pasta, try a Quinoa (gluten-free) option or a Paleo-friendly dish. Experiment and ask for feedback. Who knows, you might stumble upon a crowd favorite and invent the next Cronut™.
How to spot trends
In addition to looking around and seeing if you notice any new foods, flavors, cuisines or eating habits gaining popularity, you can turn to some experts online.
We love these resources. All five offer regular and FREE insights on food, lifestyle and hospitality topics via their blogs or newsletters and you can get them delivered to your inbox. You can also follow them on Twitter.
1) Food guru Phil Lambert – Supermarketguru.com
I met Phil years ago when we were both speaking at an event in Chicago. He is one savvy food guy. While a lot of what he covers is retail food, restaurateurs can learn a lot from his research and insight. In a recent post, he wrote about a new trend and its impact. Click here to read about the rise of 18 hour cities, micro-grocers and food delivery.
2) Food Genius – getfoodgenius.com
Food Genius™ is a research company specializing in collecting, analyzing, and delivering foodservice menu data. Big food suppliers commission them to conduct serious studies on food trends etc., You can access a ton of good scoop in their blog and by signing up for their insight email blasts.
Springwise is a global innovation discovery engine. Every day, their team of over 18,000 trend and idea spotters uncovers innovations and ideas in diverse categories including food and beverage. Their weekly blast is free. If you need to go deeper into their archives, you can purchase a 30-day access for under $100, too.
4) The Tastemakers – why we’re crazy for cupcakes but fed up with fondue by David Sax
This book gives lots of examples of trends that have emerged and how they grew or faded into obscurity. The author helps to explain why some food trends take off and others don’t fly. Click here to learn more.
5) @TrendologistK – Kara Nielsen
Follow Kara Nielsen on Twitter. She’s a food and beverage trendologist (that’s her title) at CCD Innovation who spots, analyzes and writes about trends that could be coming to a market near you.
So what trends are you spotting or introducing to your menu? Let us know!
Did you like this article? Sign up for free updates from the blog and receive our FREE e-book “25 Things Customers Think (But Won’t Tell You)” by entering your email in the box at the top right corner of this page.
You’ll also be the first to hear about our upcoming free webinars and courses where we’ll share more step-by-step tips on how to create a successful restaurant brand.