A few months ago, I wrote an article about the top dessert trends for 2019. It got me thinking. What else is driving the current culinary scene? So, I decided to do some research. What I discovered is transparency, technology, and convenience are influencing the culinary world just as much as ingredients and flavors. Read on and see what I mean.
The popularity of plant-based meats is skyrocketing as more Americans make a concerted effort to reduce their meat consumption. The majority of U.S. chain restaurants are now serving at least one plant-based entrée while fast food restaurants are looking to bring them into play by next year. The most popular category? You may find this surprising—meatballs. They’re surpassing even burgers (yes, including the Impossible Burger) in the plant-based market.
With our hectic schedules and the ability to stream TV and movies from home, food delivery is on the rise. Millenials are three times more likely to order food delivery than their parents and they’re cramming more into their schedules than ever before—leaving little time for cooking at home. Some predict sales in the sector will grow by more than 20 percent by 2030. A selection of your favorite local restaurants will be coming to your homes, so expect to see more familiar names show up on Uber Eats, Postmates, Doordash and other meal delivery platforms, as restaurant chains get in the game, too.
While technology is bringing a greater variety of food to our doors, it’s also changing how restaurants work behind the scenes. To keep up with their fast-paced customers, restaurants are employing various tech solutions to increase efficiency. They’re turning to platforms like Hourly, a fully integrated payroll and time tracking app that provides labor costs in real time. There’s also Upserve, a cloud-based system for payment processing and point of sale technology. The benefits? Spending less time on management and bookkeeping, more on food quality and customer service.
It’s exactly what you think: fine-dining meets casual fare. Danny Meyer, famed restaurateur defined the term as, “fine casual marries the ethos and taste level of fine dining with the fast food experience.” He opened such a spot in 2017, called Martina. Though he claims his Shake Shack chain is part of this category, I’m not entirely sure. But one thing is certain, fine-casual is a growing trend. You can eat quickly without the whole to-do of a fancy restaurant and still enjoy manicured wooden tables, high ceilings, locally-sourced ingredients and/or innovative dishes with the convenience of counter ordering. We’ll see more restaurants where you can wear your sneakers and workout clothes, while still enjoying a gourmet meal.
Millennials and generation-Zers are calling for clean, naturally-sourced ingredients in their food. Restaurants are responding enthusiastically, letting us know exactly what they’re putting in their dishes. With this shifting focus on transparency, restaurants are removing preservatives, additives, sweeteners, and food dyes from their kitchens. Even major food chains like Panera and Papa John’s are investing mega bucks in making their menus healthier and transparent.