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Viewpoint - Bob Gershberg - December 2022

Food, Beverage and Restaurant Trends for 2023

by Bob Gershberg, CEO/Managing Partner, Wray Executive Search

There are myriad factors that drive food trends each year from pent up demand for the experience of on-premise restaurant dining to the comparative inflationary pressures of grocery versus restaurant to the desire to protect one’s health and that of the planet. As plant-based meat alternatives lose their luster, consumer interest in plant-based food will get ever stronger. Kelp, mushrooms, dates, plant-based pastas and plant-based milk will continue to gain in popularity. With the massive increase in remote work, dayparts are blurring. Tinned fish is hot as is cauliflower everything. Sadly, Maine lobster is losing steam due to California’s Seafood Watch determining that lobster fishing gear is harming North American whales. Alcohol-free cocktails are on the rise.

The National Restaurant Association partnered with the American Culinary Federation and Technomic to conduct its annual What’s Hot survey. Their findings as follows:

  1. Top 3 Macro Trends:

  2. Experiences/local culture and community

  3. Comfort fare

  4. Menu streamlining

  1. 10 Hot Trends for 2023:

  2. Experiences/local culture and community

  3. Fried chicken sandwiches & Chicken sandwiches 3.0 (i.e., spicy and sweet-heat fusion flavors on chicken, etc.)

  4. Charcuterie boards

  5. Comfort fare

  6. Flatbread sandwiches/healthier wraps

  7. Menu streamlining

  8. Sriracha variations

  9. Globally inspired salads

  10. Zero waste/Sustainability/Upcycled foods

  11. Southeast Asian (Vietnamese, Singaporean, Philippine, etc.)

  1. Ones to Watch:

These top “emerging” trends bear scrutiny as they could portend future hot trends. Global influences play a strong role in many of these potential up-and-comers. Diners, especially Gen Zs who are starting into their earning years, like to sample— and post about—breakthrough foods and flavors.

  1. Globally inspired sandwiches (Chinese Rou Jia Mo or jianbing, Argentine choripan, etc.)

  2. New sandwich carriers (paratha, roti, pastry buns, crepes, etc.)

  3. Amazake (Japanese drink made from fermented rice)

  4. Alfajor (sweet of almond paste, nuts, breadcrumbs & honey)

  5. Balkan (Croatian, Bulgarian, Turkish, etc.)

  6. Raki (Turkish alcohol made of twice-distilled grapes & anise)

  7. Automation technology (monitoring volume, temperature & time)

  8. Hawaiian haupia (coconut pudding)

  9. Huacatay (Peruvian black mint sauce)

  10. Elevated breakfast bowls (breakfast rice bowls, breakfast pasta bowls, etc.)

We will see a measurable increase in consciousness around natural, healthy, and sustainable foods that are free of artificial ingredients. This includes a rise in minimally processed plant-based foods with a recognizable, short list of ingredients as well as grass-fed and antibiotic-free meat. Processed foods will continue to fall out of favor.

Regenerative agriculture will also be a primary focus. This practice incorporates holistic principles that restore soils and the ecosystem and strive to leave the land, waters, and climate in better conditions for future generations. While Indigenous communities have farmed in this manner for centuries, it’s only in the last few years that this farming practice has made headlines.

All the best,

Bob Gershberg |CEO|Managing Partner|

(888) 875-9993 ext 102

Finding tomorrow’s leaders today!

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