As the restaurant industry emerges from the struggles and hardships caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, customers can expect to see health-conscious menus going forward.
The National Restaurant Association released its annual What’s Hot Culinary Forecast, which offers a detailed look at the topics, trends, and products expected to drive restaurant menus in the coming year across a variety of categories including daypart occasions, menu categories, beverages, flavors, global inspirations, packaging/off-premises trends and industry macro-trends.
According to the forecast, restaurant menus in 2022 will focus on healthier planet and healthier consumers.
“In addition to a return to health-focused menu offerings and more eco-friendly, improved off-premises packaging, all of which rated high in the top trends, we’re expecting operators to look across their menus for transformative opportunities,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of Research for the Association. “Look for trends that fuse the traditional meal daypart items with other dayparts and an increasing popularity of snacking and its allied items. Also, with the popularity of cocktails-to-go during the pandemic, restaurants will look to expand both alcoholic and non-alcoholic craft beverage options.”
During the pandemic, demand for comfort food had increased, however, consumers are now shifting their focus to more healthier options. The report says the popularity of plant-based proteins are increasing, with several restaurants offering it on their menus as well as demand for less expensive cuts of protein, such as thighs instead of wings, have also increased.
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