Reinventing the norm while remaining creative and flexible are the central themes of 2022. We follow trending concepts to help you push the boundaries of menu innovation, so you can change proteins and flavors, use what’s available and discover new and delicious ways to engage your customers.
Comfort food versus the latest trend
In 2022, we will see contradictory trends driving menu ideation. Consumers will be looking for comfort foods that remind them of days gone by, especially in the dessert category. They will also look for the latest food trends seen on TikTok and similar platforms. Social media will also increase the speed and distance traveled by food ideas.
Good for the planet and good for you
As consumers continue to prioritize caring for the planet, they will support restaurants that reflect their values. Highlight dishes and ingredients that are plant-based, sustainable, recycled, low-carbon, or ethically sourced. Demonstrating that you appreciate these concepts will help customers feel aligned with your brand and more likely to invest in your business. Find inspiration for zero waste cooking and more of these concepts at this link.
Recycle the present, save the future
Also at the top of the 2022 environmental trends, along with zero waste cooking, is sustainable, reusable and recyclable packaging. It has become a priority for consumers as the demand for home dining increases. Customers want it all; packaging that keeps their food hot and intact without harming the environment. Providing options will ensure a more satisfying dining experience for takeout customers.
The trendiest global flavors
Vietnam, Singapore and the Philippines were cited by the National Restaurant Association as the top regions influencing flavors on menus in 2022.
As consumers seek out familiar yet new dishes, serve up Mexican comfort food, including next-level quesadillas and taquitos, to birria-inspired burgers.
The spice is right
Spicy flavors from around the world are getting even hotter in 2022. Experiment with hot sauces and global seasonings like:
- korean gochujang
- argentinian chimichurri
- mexican tajin
- Moroccan Harissa
- Japanese Furikake
- Indonesian sambal
Herbal continues to grow
Watch out for the continuation of the plant-based trend with these meatless proteins appearing in sandwiches, breakfast dishes and burgers. They are increasingly popular due to animal protein shortages and due to their ecological and healthy aura. Supply shortages are also driving the trend for cheaper traditional proteins, such as chicken thighs versus wings and beef chuck versus loin. The next frontier in plant space? Seafood.
Nut milks are leading beverage trends, while other milk alternatives are also gaining traction. Growing concern for animal welfare is behind the popularity of the well-known cashew, pistachio and almond milk. Milks made from alternative substances, such as potatoes, are also on the rise to make use of cooking leftovers and adhere to the zero waste trend.
The menus have changed a lot since the pandemic. Enhance your dining experience and boost your bottom line with this modern menu inspiration:
- Labor and supply chain constraints require smaller menus that are easy to run and modify. Smaller menus provide operators with the ability to improve forecasts and increase profit margins.
- Menus and digital controls continue to thrive. Orders through QR codes, kiosks, mobile devices and websites will become commonplace.
- Remote work is here to stay; reflect this in your business model through remote ordering options, premium packaging, takeout and meal kits, and delivery.
- To maximize space for restaurants that still have capacity constraints, offer midweek specials to drive traffic on off-peak days.
For more on foodservice trends and solutions, check out Sysco Foodie Magazine.