As lockdowns lift across the world, restaurants are adding to their seating capacities and revenue but the three years of Covid-19 pandemic have changed the way people eat out these days and have resulted in shorter menus, fewer servers, vaccination cards for entry at some places, earlier closing time, QR codes etc. A profitable second-half of 2022 is foreseen for restaurants and if you are wondering what food trends to capitalize on this year, we got you sorted with a list of the hottest food trends in 2022.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Pranav Dhuri, co-owner of Cafe Tato and Petisco, listed these trends as:
1. Smaller menus – A lot of restaurants are going in for smaller menus, to focus on what is being served and also to make it easier for guests to choose from. Helps in reducing inventory and also labor costs.
2. Small plates concept – Seems to be the pick of the season, every new restaurant is trying to get onto this trend to offer guests a chance to experience more from the menu.
3. Ghost kitchens – Kitchens only operate through Delivery apps like Swiggy and Zomato, this trend seems to go further this year as we see more new entrants in this market where there is no service or physical presence.
4. Farm to table concepts – A lot of restauranteurs are going in for this if they have enough space to grow their ingredients or tie us with local vendors or farms to promote sustainability and also provide guests with fresher and more flavorful healthy meals.
5. A shift towards focusing on vegetarian – Restaurateurs are focusing on increasing the quality, and the number of vegetarian items on the menu. This much-needed change has been due for a very very long time and I’m finally glad it is happening. This trend is also happening because a lot of consumers are shifting to being vegetarians and also focusing on plant-based meals.
6. Building your own – Sandwiches are very popular and during lockdowns, people started going for a lot of sandwiches, challenge was delivering them while still being able to keep their consistency. The trend this season is Build your own, where restauranteurs are giving semi-ready products or ready products separately with instructions, all consumers have to do is follow the instructions. Helps in keeping the freshness and also gives the best possible product.
7. Food trucks – We’ve seen a boom in the last year or so, it will continue to rise and we will see more food truck festivals in the coming times. The food culture on wheels.
Adding to the list, Krishna Reddy, Co-Founder and Chef of Autumn Leaf Bistro Goa, shared:
1. Understanding the origins of food – Customers are becoming more concerned about environmental sustainability and how animals are handled in the food production process. They’re curious about what’s in their food, how it was manufactured, and where it came from. As a result, restaurants are becoming more selective in their vendor selection. They aim to work with suppliers who believe in sustainability, are environmentally conscious, and share their values.
2. Even more reminiscence – Many people are seeking soothing meals and drinks from the past that provide a sense of familiarity and wistful nostalgia in these turbulent times.
3. Dining out will be more of an experience – Dining experiences will become more transformational as a whole — think restaurants that move visitors to other settings at different points during dinner, or different music tempos to complement each course, and so on. Themed menus, innovative settings, beverage brand partners, branded decor, cooking workshops, prix-fixe menus, and uber-Instagrammable moments are all things to look out for.
According to Krupa Shah, Co-Founder of IST Seltzer, the global epidemic has largely served as a wake-up call to pay greater attention to our health and well-being as people’s dietary choices show that emotional, mental and physical health have all been major considerations for many people in the years leading up to 2022. She said, “This is also great news for the world of hard seltzers, as reams have been written about their health benefits.”
She added, “There is a growing appetite for novel flavors and unique and experimental combinations over more familiar and simpler flavors. In line with this, Hard Seltzers use a combination of known and unknown flavors to make the overall profile unique and intriguing! Seltzer’s-Lime’s zesty and sweet notes are balanced with floral dry white wine aromas and grapefruit flavor, peel citrus notes are balanced by a hint of fresh red berry and floral notes of pomegranate. Citrus-flavored hard seltzers are versatile over a variety of food pairings – be it a unique fine-dining experience or home-style comfort food. Lime is light and offers the right amount of citrus taste to complement it with barbecues, Asian and oriental foods, greasy burgers, and a plate of nachos and grapefruit bold tart flavor goes well with Chettinad and coastal foods, smoky Indian tandoori and gourmet cheese platters . ”