Every December, we eagerly anticipate new restaurant and food trends for the upcoming year. What will 2024 bring? Will trends from 2023 continue into the new year? Let’s find out what we might see popping up on menus soon.
In 2024, the restaurant industry will likely see continued growth in fast casual and health-conscious segments, with fine dining experiencing more realistic growth rates. Subscription-based models across all segments will increase, while inflation and rising labor costs will lead to initial price pushback from consumers. However, people are becoming more health-conscious, favoring concepts like Nekter Juice Bar. Whole Foods predicts a resurgence in protein-forward offerings featuring mushrooms, walnuts, tempeh, and legumes as substitutes for intricate meat alternatives. Plant-based milk alternatives are also simplifying labels, some containing just two ingredients, appealing to vegetarian purists seeking straightforward options.
Value and Convenience
In the coming year, consumers’ dining preferences primarily revolve around value and convenience, marked by a significant shift in habits due to an uncertain economy and escalating food prices. R.J. Hottovy from Placer.ai outlines a reversal in dining trends, with consumers eating out less and favoring staying in, particularly as winter approaches.
Predictions from The Specialty Food Association
The Specialty Food Association’s Trendspotter Panel, recently unveiled a diverse forecast for the 2024 specialty food landscape, centered on maximizing pleasure and reducing stress. Eight key trends headline their predictions, including a surge in sophisticated non-alcoholic beverages highlighting tropical flavors and global botanicals, a rise in sustainable cell-based meat and seafood options, and the re-emergence of peach across various culinary domains. Additionally, the rise in Calabrian chili peppers, tahini’s expanding usage beyond its Middle Eastern roots, and the persistent popularity of soups underscore consumer preferences. Asian flavors such as black sesame, ube, and milk tea are expected to captivate in various formats, while value-oriented choices gain traction amidst financial considerations. The panel also highlights the continuation of ongoing trends, emphasizing global flavor exploration, elevated convenience, the elevation of everyday experiences, a focus on environmental impact, and the mushroom’s increasing prominence across diverse food and beverage categories.