Menus are constantly evolving to reflect the latest culinary trends in order to deliver the new food experience to restaurant customers. Culinary trends not only will affect the foodservice sector, but also propel product innovation in consumer packaged goods (CPG) by leaving consumers hungry for new food and beverages to satisfy their evolving palates.
Curious about what will be hot for 2016? Technomic released its top 10 2016 Food Trends predicted to transform menus in the coming year. The following are a few of the trends I believe will translate over to CPG food and beverage innovation.
- The Sriracha Effect: Having learned that Sriracha sauce can add instant ethnic cachet to something as straightforward as a sandwich, chefs are scouting the world for other assertive flavorings to employ in similar ways. Likely bets: ghost pepper from India; sambal from Southeast Asia; gochujang from Korea; harissa, sumac, and dukka from North Africa.
- Elevating Peasant Fare: Meatballs and sausages are proliferating—traditional, ethnic or nouveau, shaped from many types and combinations of meats. Likewise on the rise are multi-ethnic dumplings, from pierogis to bao buns.
- Trash to Treasure: High protein prices have raised the profile of underutilized stewing cuts, organ meats, and “trash" species of fish—but the “use it all" mindset also has moved beyond the center of the plate.
- Burned: Smoke and fire are showing up everywhere on the menu—in charred or roasted vegetable sides; in desserts with charred fruits or burnt-sugar toppings; in cocktails featuring smoked salt, smoked ice or smoky syrups.
- Bubbly: Effervescence makes light work of the trendiest beverages: Champagnes and Proseccos, Campari-and-soda aperitifs, adult-only “hard" soft drinks including ginger ales and root beers, fruit-based artisanal sodas, sparkling teas.
- Negative on GMOs: Whatever the science says, many consumers have made up their minds: no genetic tinkering with their food. Some diners will gravitate to restaurants touting GMO-free fare; others will demand GMO labeling on menus.