With 2016 coming to a close, and having already looked at consumer food trends, it’s time to look ahead to 2017 and see what trends will be setting the table in foodservice. Similar to the trends we reported on in 2016, 2017 will be more about the customer experience and how their food gets to their plate.
The NPD Group shared what they felt were five key foodservice trends to watch in 2017:
- A delivery revolution that offers consumers a flexible approach to, and more choices in, how they receive the foods they purchase—whether it’s a speedy delivery service or a takeout-only outlet that complements a traditional sit-down restaurant format.
- Engaging with consumers through the quality of foods and through a diverse menu of the foods and drinks offered to deliver a high experience that will drive loyalty and make them come back for more.
- Support of communities by incorporating quality foods from local suppliers. Consumers feel good about supporting their local communities but still have an expectation when it comes to quality that can’t be sacrificed.
- ‘Healthy choice’ menu options and sensitivity to sourcing, waste and environmental protection will play a big role in foodservice.
- New twists to classic dishes will be making their way onto menus to appeal to consumers who are creatures of habit but who also appreciate a menu refresh.
According to Baum + Whiteman, restaurants will be shoving animal proteins to the edge of the plate and giving center-of-the-plate attention to vegetables. In this “waste-not” economy, beet greens, chard, turnip greens, mustard greens and carrot tops will become more widespread, and seaweed will gain a wider acceptance. With 26 percent of consumers saying in the past year they’d eat less meat, plant-based proteins will become more prevalent as well. However, despite plant-based protein growth and vegetables being in the spotlight, Baum + Whiteman also noted that there is a growing trend in restaurants with their own butcher shops attached.
With McDonalds moving to the all-day breakfast menu, it has inspired competitors to develop more robust breakfast menu items—in fact, Baum + Whiteman suggests keeping an eye out for more creative breakfast tacos on menus. In addition, Baum + Whiteman said to be on the lookout for innovation in the fast-casual segment, when it comes to new design elements, more alcoholic beverages and the delivery of food to tables or possibly drive-thrus. One of the trends I’m most excited about is the proliferation in new ice cream formats that Baum + Whiteman sees becoming a fad—such as milkshakes topped with insane amounts of cake, cookies, doughnuts, ice cream sandwiches and various candies; ice cream rollups, which are liquid ice cream frozen into crepe-like thinness on a super-cooled metal plate; and decorated shaved ice, soft-serve embedded in cotton candy and ice cream with non-dessert ingredients such as avocado and roasted beets.
It will be exciting to see what new food and drink options will pop up on menus in 2017. Share in the comments below what you hope to see in foodservice next year.