Wondering what new food trends to capitalize on this year?
We’ve got you covered.
As this year draws to a close, it’s only fitting to highlight some of the hottest new food trends. These include everything from trendy foods to cooking practices, and reflect new and changing attitudes toward health and the world we live in.
By taking advantage of these current food trends and following the latest restaurant industry statistics, you can position your restaurant as newsworthy, make sure you remain relevant among rising competition, and become even more profitable.
But, also keep in mind: just because something is trendy and dominating food news doesn’t mean it’s right for your restaurant.
That’s why we’ll also walk through three essential questions you should ask to determine whether adding one of these current food trends is worth it for you. Plus, check out our bonus section of trending food and upcoming popular ideas to watch out for.
Ready? Let’s get started.
Should I Add the Popular Food Trends to My Menu?
Not sure if a trending food is right for your restaurant?
Three Questions to Help You Decide
1. Who is my target market?
It’s important to fully understand your customers, so you can determine if this is a trend they’re likely to get on board with. Get to know your customers better by doing some demographic and psychographic research.
2. What is the style of my restaurant?
Not all top food trends will fit the style of your restaurant and, if added, could negatively impact your overall guest experience. This is about brand management – having a very clear identity and making sure all business decisions are in line with it. If, for example, you’re a meat-centric venue, offering a range of new vegan-friendly dishes isn’t going to help you. It would be off-brand and, frankly, confusing to guests.
3. Will adding new foods impact my food costs?
Another thing to keep in mind is that adding certain trendy new foods may cause food costs to rise, making those dishes unprofitable. On the flip side, you may choose to add a dish that’s less profitable if it’s popular enough to drive a large volume of customers through your doors.
What to Do if You Don’t Have a Marketing Plan
Tip: Refer to your marketing plan for further guidance. If you don’t have a marketing plan, our Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Marketing can get you started
10 Current “Hot” Restaurant Food and Drink Trends in 2023
Capitalize on these new food trends in 2023 and beyond:
1. Plant-Based Foods Growing Like Weeds
What many thought was once based on a fad is now mainstream and a top food trend. People are reducing meat consumption, embracing plant-based diets, and going vegan. In fact, those identifying themselves as “vegan” in the U.S. has increased by 600% in the last three years.
Driving this plant based trend are Millennials who are acutely aware of the impact meat consumption is having on the environment and how animals are treated in the process.
The result? Restaurants are recognizing the need to cater to this growing market and are updating their menus to offer tasty plant-based, vegan and vegetarian options.
Plant-based cuisine eats to try on your menu:
Vegan ice creams
Cauliflower buffalo wings
2. Zero-Waste Cuisine Takes Hold
As rapid population growth puts a strain on natural resources and food supplies, the days of wasting food are over. Nose-to-tail and leaf-to-root cooking are gaining momentum, and restaurants are now finding creative recipes to make food go further and avoid food waste.
Zero-waste popular food trends to try on your menu:
Instead of discarding chicken bones, use them in broths and stocks.
Try putting cauliflower leaves into some of your dishes (pan-fried cauliflower leaves are a lot like tasty kale chips).
Use the whole fish – skin, bones, eyes, and flesh.
Transform carrot leaves into sumptuous pestos or garnishes.
3. Healthy Foods That Are Good for Your Guts
A growing body of research is finding links between gut bacteria and neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s. A healthy gut is crucial for weight management and combating some diseases.
As awareness grows of the benefits of maintaining a healthy gut, expect foods and recipes based on a gut-friendly mentality – pickling, fermenting, prebiotics, and probiotics – to become more and more popular with customers, as well as plant-based foods.
Good for your gut trends to try on your menu:
Salads with raw onions, garlic, or jicama
Garnishes from a plant like dandelion greens
Sides of sauerkraut
4. The Demand for Kombucha Set to Rise
Kombucha – fermented sweet tea with a culture of yeast and bacteria – is becoming known for its health benefits. It contains antioxidants and beneficial probiotics and can rid your body of harmful bacteria.
While drinking kombucha is already trendy – with people buying kombucha kits online – this tendency will only grow as more people become aware of the health benefits and restaurants start offering this tasty drink.
Although the superfood trend dates back to the early 80s, it was only in the 2000s that it really exploded among the health conscious. This movement is ever-evolving, and you will likely see new superfoods added every year.
The latest craze? Superfood powders, like maca root (the ancient South American superfood), cacao, ground turmeric, and mushroom powder.
Superfood powder trends you can try on your menu this year:
Breakfast power bowl with banana and cacao
Almond, cinnamon, and maca smoothie
Omelet with mushroom powder
6. “Keto” is One of the Top Food Trends
With many embracing the keto diet year after year, food products that identify as “keto” are gaining prominence. But what exactly is the keto diet based on?
Often referred to as the “low-carb diet”, keto typically includes foods that are high in protein and fat, and lower in carbohydrates. According to Healthline, the reduction in carbs puts your body in a metabolic state where it’s more likely to burn fat efficiently. This process is referred to as “ketosis”.
People following a keto diet typically avoid high sugary foods like honey, syrups, sweet yogurts or juices, as well as grains and starches, chips and crackers, and many baked goods, to name a few. While this diet is promoted as a way to improve health and lose and manage weight, some experts may argue that it’s restrictive and even extreme, pointing to the dangers of consumers following it strictly.
Regardless of your opinions on the full diet, you should be aware that keto foods are on the rise as a big healthy craze this year. If you want to know all the details of this popular weight loss diet, you can read this Forbes article. If you want some healthy food inspiration, you can find many recipe examples at myrecipes. As a restaurant owner, adding these foods to your menu could boost your traffic and sales.
Keto trend recipes to try on your menu:
Bone marrow broth
Charcuterie of nuts, low-carb fruits, and nonstarchy raw veggies
Cauliflower crust pizza
Bacon egg and cheese bites
Meat with guacamole and salsa in a lettuce wrap
7. Cold Brew Coffee Set to Explode
According to Statista, the total size of the cold brew market is forecast to reach around $944.15 million in sales by 2025.
While iced coffee is brewed hot and then poured over ice, cold brew uses time instead of heat, letting the drink steep for about half a day at room temperature.
Cold brew top food and drink trends in 2023 to try on your menu:
Cold brew old fashioned
Cold brew smoothie
Cold brew ice cream
8. Non-Alcoholic Beers: A New, Exciting Drink?
Drinking habits are changing.
As Generation Z and late Millennials begin to better understand the health risks of over-indulging in booze, many are choosing to put down the bottle. Believe it or not, alcohol-free drinks are a new trend that’s about to explode.
Restaurants are already starting to cater to this demand, especially within the non-alcoholic beer category. In fact, according to a report by Research and Research, “The global non-alcoholic beer market is expected to provide sustainable growth opportunities during the forecast period from 2017 to 2025.”
Non-alcoholic beer hasn’t been as popular in the U.S. as it has in Europe. But that’s mostly due to limited options and flavor profiles which, quite frankly, haven’t been that appealing. This is changing.
Breweries are experimenting and producing more alcohol-free beers in response to growing demand. It’s only a matter of time before you see a new non-alcoholic beer you want to drink!
Non-alcoholic (NA) drink trends to try on your menu:
Mikkeller Drink’in the Snow non-alcoholic wheat beer
9. Alternative Coffee Brewing Is In
Modern coffee is evolving.
Across the board, people want amazing experiences, have more discerning tastes, and are looking to build their knowledge – especially in the world of coffee.
To satisfy this evolution, coffee shops, roasteries, and restaurants are focusing on craftsmanship and alternative coffee brewing methods. They’re also drawing customers fully into the coffee world by showing them how to make these carefully crafted brews.
Alternative coffee brewing trends to try on your menu:
Pour over coffee
10. Understanding What’s in Your Dishes
Customers increasingly care about sustainability and how animals are treated in the production of food. They want to know what’s in their food, if it’s healthy, how it was made, and where it’s from.
As a result, we’re seeing restaurants become more discerning about the vendors they work with. They want to partner with suppliers who support sustainability, care about cleaning the environment, and share the same values.
We also see more venues updating their menus to reflect this, with menu descriptions that include “grass-fed” and “free range.” This growing awareness means restaurants need to make these changes or possibly face a backlash from customers who won’t frequent their establishments.
Origin trends you can try on your menu:
Vendors’ stories, so people see where the ingredients come from
Local maps that highlight your main food sources
Upcoming Eating New Trends
Because there are always new food practices popping up that are easy to benefit from, here are five food and drink trends in 2023 we predict will be big in the coming year.
Plastic-free restaurants. Restaurants will give a hard pass to plastic, saying “no” to plastic straws and offering compostable coffee cups.
We will seemushrooms everywhere.The umami flavors of the versatile mushroom will become prominent in more dishes. Expect experimentation with shiitake, enoki, and portobello, as well as the lesser known maitake and eryngii.
Unhealthy dishes, re-invented. With sugar, dairy, and gluten replacements everywhere, expect less healthy dishes to be re-invented. Examples include cauliflower base pizzas instead of wheat and dates as a replacement for sugar in ice cream, cakes, and other tasty treats.
Sparkling cold brew. This one’s currently popular in Istanbul and certain parts of the U.S., but we see it becoming mainstream real soon.
More alternative milk items. People are already drinking less milk and opting for alternatives like soy and almond milk. This evolution will continue, but with an expansion of new milk items, like those made from oats and macadamia nuts.
There you have it – 10 of the most popular food trends you can benefit from right now and five upcoming ones to look into.
But remember, just because something is trendy doesn’t mean you should add it to your menu. Make sure you ask yourself those three questions we highlighted at the beginning to ensure you actually cash in from the new trend.
What will you add to your menu this year?
Dana is the former Content Marketing Manager at TouchBistro, sharing tips for and stories of restaurateurs turning their passion into success. She loves homemade hot sauce, deep fried pickles and finding excuses to consume real maple syrup.