With the new year right around the corner and restaurant operators preparing for what’s ahead, we thought it would be a great idea to introduce some menu favorites to look out for in 2022.
According to the new 2022 Culinary Forecast from the National Restaurant Association, many food items, beverages, flavors, and much more will be hitting menus in the coming New Year. Some trends new, some old. Some that may be surprising, and some not so much!
Let’s take a look at a few menu trends you should be prepared for come the New Year:
Three Meals of the Day
Everyone knows breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s a great way for customers to earn energy bright and early and an easy way for you to put money in your pockets. If you weren’t already serving breakfast at your restaurant operation, now’s your chance!
Top 3 trends to consider adding to your 2022 breakfast menus are nontraditional proteins such as chorizo or vegan bacon, plant-based breakfast sandwiches, and egg-based breakfast bowls.
When it comes to lunch, most customers are looking for something healthy and filling to get them through those last few hours of work. Plant-based sandwiches are number one on the list, followed by globally inspired salads, and grain-based bowls. The options you have to create these menu items are endless. Get your creative culinary techniques prepared and whip up some mouth-watering bowl ideas!
Lastly, we have dinner. Chefs and experts believe less-expensive chicken cuts will be a hit for 2022. We’re talking thighs vs. wings. Next on the list? Plant-based burgers (this seems to be a trend huh?) and finally, less-expensive beef cuts. It looks like customers are ready to save some money and go lighter on meal choices.
Oh, and don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten dessert! Apparently, guests are looking for alternatives to sweeteners. This means maple sugar, coconut sugar, dates, honey, and more. They’re also looking to spice things up with alcohol infusions—I mean, can you blame them?
Snacks, Sides, Seasonings
Snacks have just about the same types of trends as desserts for 2022, although number one on the list is immunity-boosting snacks! With the past nearly two years of battling through the pandemic, it seems like more and more people are health-conscious now, which is a good thing!
Appetizers and sides? Upscale potato chips, global accented wings using flavor-fusion sauces and spiced fries using seasonings like Furikake which is a Japanese seasoning made with toasted sesame seeds, nori, salt, and sugar, or Za’atar which is a Middle Easter spice with a combination of oregano, thyme, marjoram, sumac, and toasted sesame seeds—yum!
Top three condiments, sauces, and seasonings? Gochujang, which is a red chili paste popular in Korean cooking takes the lead for number one. Tajin and Harissa, which both have a spicy pepper flavoring to them, also top off these 2022 menu trends.
Beverages That Quench A Thirst
If you’re wondering what beverages are absolute musts for 2022, we’ll let you in on the scoop.
Some top favorite non-alcohol beverages are nut milks such as cashew, pistachio, almond, along with seltzers/sparkling water. Be sure to add these to your menus as they’re becoming a hit at most restaurant operations!
If you’re an operator serving alcoholic beverages, you may want to include hard seltzers on your menus. Maybe even some cocktails with uniquely spiced rims using flavors like Tajin which is a Mexican seasoning made with ground dried chili peppers, dehydrated lime, and seat salt, or Japanese spice mixture Togarashi that includes seven ingredients.
Sustainability and Immunity-Boosters
Don’t forget, many customers take pride in giving their business to restaurants that stand for zero waste/sustainability while using immunity boosting ingredients. Make sure you consider plant-based menu options that include ingredients such as nut milks, and other functional ingredients that promote health and boost energy while also helping the environment.
Plant-based items are one of the biggest trends we’ve seen in 2021 and there’s no doubt it’s here to stay in 2022. They’re eco-friendly, help with the current animal protein shortage, and are a great alternative that benefits your health.
With the current supply chain crisis and labor shortages in full speed, it’s important to understand that limiting menus and cutting down on items will help you streamline operations while also helping guests feel less overwhelmed when choosing an item off the menu.
When it comes to packaging and off-premise dining, sustainability is key. Use reusable/recyclable items that will help retain temperature and food quality while in travel to its final destination.
If there’s anything this pandemic has taught us, it’s that consumers are looking for better-for-you options that also appease the urge for comfort.
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