9 Food Trends For 2019

Mathew Green – Director of Culinary Operations, Blue Orbit Restaurant Consulting

There are times where it seems everyone in the industry is talking about the same things. We’ve been keeping our ears to the ground and looking into the future as well. Here are the top food trends everybody will be talking about in 2019.

  1. CBD-infused Everything – Although still illegal under federal law, in the growing list of states that have legalized recreational marijuana, and even in some that haven’t, CBD is showing up as a popular ingredient in everything from smoothies and energy drinks, to gummy bears and compound butter. Cannabidiol is derived from marijuana and it’s proponents tout a wide range of medicinal uses without the psychoactive properties of its mother plant. True or not, legal or not, this stuff is soon to be found everywhere and in everything.
  2. Plant-based Foods – Vegans are everywhere and even people who don’t strictly follow a vegan diet are getting hip to the health benefits of plant-based foods. Whether you are just trying to eat lower on the food chain, reduce your carbon footprint, or improve your overall health, there are offerings everywhere from meat-like products like the Impossible Burger to the uber-trendy oat milk.
  3. Sourdough Bread – Fermentation is nothing new, it’s been around for millennia and at the top of every food trend list for the last several years, but expect to see an explosion of interest in sourdough breads this year. Requiring just simple ingredients, careful attention, and a love of trial and error testing, sourdough breads are delicious, fun to make, and maybe most importantly Instagrammable.
  4. Blockchain – 2018 saw huge booms in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and this same technology is now being applied to tracking the provenance of food, especially high-end products like grass-fed beef where consumers want to know that they are getting what they paid for. Blockchain can be used to track a product from the field to the plate, guaranteeing high quality for the consumer and a good price for the farmer.
  5. Reduced Labor Model Restaurants – The labor pool is small and everyone has been having a hard time hiring. Now more than ever restaurant owners are designing new restaurants to need fewer and fewer employees. This is a behind such trends as the explosion of fast casual and reduced service restaurants, robotic salad making vending machines, and delivery-only restaurants that combine multiple concepts into one kitchen without a storefront.
  6. Breakfast All Day – Diners have been doing it for years, McDonald’s jumped on it and now even James Beard Award winning chefs like Anne Quatrano are opening restaurants serving breakfast all day. The ultimate in comfort food has boosted sales across the industry. Breakfast – it’s what’s for dinner.
  7. Tiny Menus – The Halal Guys launched from a food cart to a fast casual empire with a menu that has literally four items on it. By focusing narrowly on what they do best restaurateurs are trimming fat from their menus and inventory and delivering profit to the bottom line. Customers know what they want and you no longer have to try to please everybody all the time.
  8. Salads Without Lettuce – Yes, kale salads have been a thing for years now, but since romaine lettuce has become the number one killer of Americans (not actually true, but it sure felt like it for a minute in 2018) expect to see more chefs dumping lettuce altogether and menuing salads full of grains, vegetables, fruits, and anything but lettuce.
  9. No More Plastic – The anti-plastic movement had a banner year in 2018 with plastic straw bans allowing us the lovely experience of sipping cocktails through disintegrating paper straws. Expect to see this continue with better non-plastic straws hitting the market and more and more restaurants packing to go food in biodegradable paper packaging.

 

 

Do you need assistance with advice on which trends you can utilize in your restaurant in 2019? We’re here to help! Contact us today, and let’s chat.

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