Trends are often dismissed because of their tendency to exist only for a short time, but some of these trends can turn into food opportunities. Without keeping an eye on what’s hot, businesses risk losing relevancy and customers.
Here are some food trends that business owners and restaurateurs need to keep an eye on to make sure they stay profitable and relevant.
- A Focus on Health
More and more people in the United States are looking after their health and altering their diets accordingly. A report published by the American Heart Association in collaboration with the International Food Information Council discovered that 95 percent of Americans look for healthy food options when they are out grocery shopping.
However, only as little as 28 percent say that they have easy access to healthy food and 11 percent of the respondents say it was too hard to find any at all.
This focus on health means that Americans are looking for fresher meals in restaurants and healthier alternatives to their usual products in groceries. They’re now looking for food that are low-sodium or sugar-free. People are asking if orange juice with pulp is healthier or whether they should eat kale chips instead of potato chips. There’s even a marked rise of people switching to veganism because of the associated health benefits of a diet rich in vegetables and other vitamin-laden fare.
- Convenience is Key
Americans are looking for convenience in their food choices, and this thirst for convenience is taking many forms. At first, people were only willing to accept beverages, such as beer and soda, to be canned. But times are changing. Because of the need to have easy access to their favorite food and drink, people are now looking for canned wine, pre-made cocktails, and even ready-to-drink beverages, like specialized coffee and juices.
Another aspect of convenience that’s manifesting in the food industry is subscriptions.
Rather than go out of their homes and have to hunt down their favorite food and drinks, Americans are embracing food subscriptions. For modest fees, they can remain at home and have their chosen products delivered regularly. Food subscription services now include gourmet culinary boxes, flavored water for children and fresh vegetables.
- Sustainability Sells
People care about the state of the planet and the impact of the products they buy have on the environment. According to a report by Tastewise, as many as 23 percent of consumers in the United States are buying their food and drink as they’re considering sustainability.
A lot of food and drink products have serious environmental impacts, whether during their cultivation or their production. For example, the beef industry devastates acres of rainforest for grazing lands and livestock produce the most methane out of any industry. These environmental considerations are making a lot of people switch to vegetarian diets or buy vegan products instead.
Aside from the food and their ingredients, consumers are also concerned about the sustainability of their product’s packaging. Recyclable or biodegradable packaging material are just as important to consumers and the sustainability of their actual ingredients. Business owners should keep this in mind when looking for sources for new food products.
- The Importance of Texture
When considering whether a food product is delicious or not, most people would only consider either the flavor or the aroma of the food in question. However, business owners and restaurateurs should also pay attention to their food’s texture.
The trend has exploded into the scene as nitrogen coffee. During the brewing process of this beverage, the drink is infused with nitrogen gas. The gas helps the fluid taste better and make the texture smooth and silky. It also makes the drink frothy and light, not quite like sparkling water of soda.
Mouthfeel and texture are also essential when it comes to baked goods. For example, many popular pastries combine more than one texture into them. Crunchy or flaky crusts with soft and chewy interiors are just as delicious as cakes with creamy frosting and soft layers.
- Exoticism on the Rise
Thanks to innovations in food processing, it’s now easier than ever to incorporate exotic flavors to a wide range of food products and beverages. Certain exotic food processes are also easy to replicate.
For example, kombucha formerly required a careful brewing process to achieve its flavor. Today, manufacturers can condense the brewing process to offer premade kombucha. Food infused with rare flavors, such as dragon fruit, coconut and prickly pears are also becoming more common than ever.
Business and restaurant owners should keep these types of trends in mind in case they turn into long-term food opportunities. With these trends, businesses with foresight can stay ahead of their competitors and remain relevant to their customers.