The restaurant industry sees different trends emerging each year to tantalize our culinary palates. This past year, the trends that emerged pointed in a new direction and paved the way for exciting new ingredients, restaurant themes and more. These seven trends look like they’re here to stay.
#1 New Cuts
Chefs took another look at cuts of meat deemed less desirable and found a new font of inspiration. From beef cheek to pork shoulder, we’ve seen cuts of meat on the menu that received a turned-up nose. This trend opened the door for new charcuterie — lamb bacon, turkey jerky, octopus salami and dried scallop shavings to name a few.
#2 Going Green
While the move towards environmentally conscious practices isn’t really new per se, it is new to restaurants. Sustainable food, supplies and even water (in-house water filtration systems) are more and more prominent.
#3 Hyper-local Sourcing
Sourcing locally is another trend that isn’t all that new, but it’s changing. Chefs and restaurant managers are taking it one step further to ensure that all their ingredients and even their drinks, cutlery and décor is provided by farms, producers and businesses in their community.
#4 All Hail Veggies
Turns out mom was right all along (don’t tell her though) — we should all eat our veggies. 2016 saw an increase in vegetable-based mains that include kale, swiss chard, mustard greens, collard greens, dandelions and beet greens. But the king of vegetables has to be cauliflower — roasted, spiced, fried or boiled, this white veggie has had a makeover and is wowing diners across the country.
#5 Fermented Food
Fermented foods, like the familiar pickles, yogurt and sauerkraut, or the exotic miso, kefir (a milk drink), tempeh, kombucha (fizzy black or green tea) and kimchi (spicy Korean cabbage), increased in popularity both in restaurants and grocery stores.
#6 Non-Alcoholic Selections
Consumers have been expanding the non-alcoholic selection in 2016. Restaurants, coffee shops, brunch stops and more are offering items like cold-brewed coffee, draft lattes, craft soda, natural soft drinks, smoothies and plant/fruit/vegetable flavoured water (flat or carbonated).
#7 Crafty & Creative Cocktails
Craft beers, microbrews and restaurant-original cocktails have made their way onto restaurant drink menus across the country. At Quench, we’re always excited to try new experiments made by experts in the industry, so this trend is right up our alley.
Some other trends that made some noise this year include the use of ethnic sauces like sriracha, raita/raitha, chimichurri and soy sauce; the replacement of quinoa with freekeh, a Middle Eastern grain; and the use of food foraged by the chefs themselves.