Our Take

Musings on the Foodservice Industry

Five Menu Trends for the Future

In the movie, “Sleeper”, Woody Allen takes a shot at our never-ending paranoia about certain foods when his futuristic characters happily chow down on milkshakes and hamburgers.  “We have found they are actually very good for us,” they say.

In addition to making fun of us, Woody proposed that we never know what the future will bring when it comes to our diets.

Specifically, who could have predicted the rise of the South American grain quinoa as a new staple or the ubiquity of bacon and the $15 gourmet, grass-fed hamburger?

That said; let’s take a peek at what might be on restaurant menus in the future:

  1. Vegetarians Will Be Happy: They already are pretty gleeful about the growing number of dishes available to them at every place from five star restaurants to fast food joints.  The future will be even greener as chefs look to compose entrees and appetizers that fit the popular turn away from red meat and towards veggies.  About 15 percent of the population prefers a vegetarian diet and that is bound to grow.  Couple that with the desire to improve the environment (cattle contribute more to air pollution than cars), and you can see why vegetarian diets will continue to rise.
  2. Farm to Table – Just a few years ago, the idea of bringing local food toshutterstock_132272156restaurants was seen as costly and unmanageable. Today, it is commonplace for restaurants to source their foods locally.  It is better for the environment and offers support to local businesses.  Plus the foods are fresher and tastier.  Look for restaurants to actually own their own farms down the line in order to better control the quality of their foods.  Farm to Table also coincides with our desire for more sustainable food ideas something that Sugar Foods has anticipated with its EcoSticks (www.ecostick.net) , a futuristic design that packs more sweetening power in a smaller package.
  3. Healthier Fast Foods – The Big Mac may be a thing of the past. GMO’s and antibiotics are being eschewed by big chains.  New chains like Veggie Grill and Leaf are making big headway.
  4. Multi-Cultural Foods – The world is shrinking. Mobile food trucks ushered in Fusion foods, a blend of two or three cultural foods at once.  This is really about imagination and the end of food boundaries. The crazier the dish, the more fun and exciting.
  5. Funky Food Items – Among the new ideas that may emerge in the future are: Healthy Chocolate that is gluten free, GMO free, Nut free, Dairy free and just about free of calories; more kale even in a lollipop or dessert form; insects as ingredients as we have seen with the cricket shake from at Wayback Burgers; and, yes, even something like edible soil and edible wood in risotto, ice cream and other dishes.

As we look to the future, let’s just say that Woody would have a field day with the menu possibilities. They may sound more humorous than delicious, but at the very least the door is open to the widest array of ideas.

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