here are 16 delicious food and drink trends, as predicted by restaurateurs, bartenders, and other industry experts.
16 delicious food and drink trends
This year, get out of your culinary comfort zone and try one of the many food and drink trends making the rounds. Of course, not all trends survive the test of time, but many are.
Without further ado, here are 2023’s top food and beverage trends, as predicted by restaurateurs, bartenders, and other industry experts.
1. Plant-Based Protein Innovations (Including Seafood!)
According to Adriano Paganini, founder and operator of Back of the House in San Francisco, there are more plant-based protein options than ever before.
Eating plant-based is no longer fringe—and with our three plant-based restaurants, I have noticed that many of our guests are not die-hard vegans, but they want to switch up their dining options throughout the week, he says. I only see this trend increasing, especially as plant-based ingredients and replacements become more readily available and more delicious.
You need to keep seafood on your radar for 2023, says Carmen Rossi, owner of 8 Hospitality in Chicago. As consumers become more educated and aware of sensitive food systems, we should expect to see alternative seafood ingredients and protein-based replacement options of meat alternatives with plant-based ingredients on menus as trust and transparency become more important in consumer considerations,” he adds.
2. Low and No ABV Drinks Reign Supreme
Hebert Moreira, restaurant and bar manager at Gabriel Kreuther in New York City, says that the low- and no-ABV drinking scene is going to explode in full force shortly. “There are already a number of no-alcohol bars in the U.S., and the quality and standard will continue to rise.” Hilary Sheinbaum, the author of The Dry Challenge, says that tasting menus will include non-alcoholic pairings this year.
Lauren Gonzalez, founder and owner of Lolo Pass in Portland and wine and spirits expert, says there will be more (and better!) NA options on store shelves this year. She says that, with such a huge market, more brands are likely to compete for shelf space.
3. Retro Foods That Remind You of Childhood
Retro foods are making a big comeback, according to Whole Foods’ Food Trend Report for 2023. From mac and cheese to pizza bites and classic old-school cereals, your childhood favorites are making a comeback.
In terms of sweets, nostalgia will be especially prominent. Nicole Patel, owner and chocolatier at Delysia Chocolate, says nostalgia flavors will be a strong trend in 2023, whether they be to reclaim childhood, relive better times, or simply because we now think sweeter is better.
4. Dates to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
Dates went viral on TikTok in 2022 when a creator created a recipe for a Snickers-like concoction using the healthy Middle Eastern fruit often referred to as “nature’s candy.” (Drool.)
According to Mareya Ibrahim, author of Eat Like You Give A Fork: The Real Dish on Eating to Thrive, new varieties other than Medjool are making their way into the market.
5. Immersive Dining Experiences
The year 2023 will be a year for immersive dining experiences, according to JJ Johnson, chef at FIELD TRIP in New York City. According to Sam Bakhshandehpour, co-owner of The Electric Jane in Nashville, dinner theater will be the trend. Whether it’s on your plate or on the stage, live music, tableside service, other forms of entertainment or a show will be the key in 2023.
There will also be an experiential element in 2023 for brands. For example, Doritos After Dark is a recent immersive late-night dining experience featuring globally inspired bites made with classic Doritos flavors. PepsiCo Foodservice Digital Labs launched in November 2022, which was the inspiration for this campaign.
6. Avocado Snacks and Desserts
Despite the fact that avocado toast isn’t over, it will continue to evolve and take new forms, says Emily Murphy, director of merchandising, specialty and dairy at Baldor Specialty Foods, which distributes fresh produce and specialty foods throughout the northeast. Instead of bread, she says, serve your avocado on sweet potato slices for an updated take on a classic.
Baldor reports that it has seen an increase in avocado-based items, including sweets-and avocados remain one of their top-selling produce items. Avocado pudding, FTW!
7. The Next Generation of Non-Milk Milks
The next generation of “not milk” is ready for its closeup in 2023. Murphy cites Hope and Sesame sesame milk and Táche, a pistachio milk, as two popular options that Baldor recently added to its mix. Both brands are women-led and have sustainable business practices.
It is predicted that reduced- and low-sugar dairy alternatives will also be popular in the U.S.. Due to the desire to control sweeteners and also to opt for alternative sweeteners, you see more and more products on the European market that are either sugar-free or low-sugar.
8. Climate-Conscious Food and Drink Production
Whole Foods notes that climate consciousness and sustainability efforts are more relevant than ever and apply to grocery store products and restaurant food.
In 2023, the culinary trend is likely to move in only one direction: adopting climate-conscious methods to minimize the environmental impact of food and using more local and seasonal ingredients to reduce carbon footprints, says Fairmont El San Juan Hotel executive chef Ricardo Cera.
As the younger generation of chefs and consumers become more aware of the environmental impact of factory farming and mass production of food, organic and sustainable markets will continue to grow.
In addition, look for bar programs that are more sustainable. A zero-waste bar includes using all aspects of the ingredients on a menu, including citrus peel and pineapple rind, according to James Baugh, food and beverage director at TMC Hospitality’s Drift and Bode hotels. When done correctly, many of these items can be used for shrubs, cordials, syrups, fermentations, or even cross-use in the kitchen, he says.
9. Beverages as Medicine
OLIPOP, a functional soda infused with botanicals, prebiotics, and other good-for-you ingredients, is a functional soda that is infused with botanicals, prebiotics, and other good-for-you ingredients. There has been a sea-change in preventative medicine and ‘food as medicine,’ or, in OLIPOP’s case, beverage as medicine.
According to Goodwin, the White House recently held its first summit on hunger and nutrition in 53 years, with food as medicine being one of the topics. More research in this area will allow brands to become part of this powerful movement.
As some brands add antioxidants and extracts to their spirits, alcohol is also getting a medicinal boost. According to Yael Vengroff, head of bars and mixology at Katsuya and S Bar, alcoholic drinks like Origen Holistic Vodka are formulated based on plant science and utilize specific antioxidants and extracts to help the spirit metabolize and process more easily. The result will be flavored spirits, which I call functional flavors, she says.
10. Chocolate Charcuterie Boards
With chocolate added to the mix in 2023, Patel says charcuterie boards will be even bigger than butter boards. She explains that chocolate’s sweetness contrasts beautifully with the pungent flavors of cheeses and salamis in her menu, including truffles studded throughout and chocolate barks replacing traditional crackers.
11. More Ways to Enjoy Tinned Fish
During the pandemic, consumers turned to canned seafood as a convenient, shelf-stable alternative to dine-in restaurants, says Charlotte Langley, a chief culinary officer of Scout, a canned seafood company.
As of 2023, this trend will extend to different types of fish. According to Heather Scott, Wild Planet’s SVP of marketing, canned seafood consumption is expected to rise, especially sardines, anchovies and mackerel, which fall lower on the food chain. It is driven by a cultural zeitgeist that celebrates tinned fish.
There is even some restaurant involvement in the tin fish boom. Whether it is the addition of Spanish and Portuguese-inspired conservas to menus of some of the country’s most popular restaurants or the introduction of sea-cuterie snack boards and ‘tinned fish date nights’ on TikTok, consumers of all ages are discovering–and rediscovering—how exciting, delicious, heart-healthy and nutrient-dense canned seafood can be.
12. Filipino Food Makes a Splash
The depth of Filipino cuisine isn’t well known, but Hunter Evans, owner-chef at Elvie’s in Jackson, Mississippi, predicts it will make a big impact across the country. I have a really talented chef de cuisine who has a Filipino background, and he is cooking some really flavorful and unique dishes for us.
Leah Cohen, co-owner of Pig & Khao and Piggyback by Pig & Khao, shares this sentiment, noting that Filipino restaurant Kasama in Chicago received a Michelin star in 2022.
13. Nutrient-Dense Pasta
Produce meets pasta is poised to have a breakout year, according to Whole Foods.
Specifically, Ibrahim is looking for pasta that will not fall apart when boiled and will be suitable for people with high-protein, low-carb or ketogenic diets. (Finally!) They taste great and deliver real nutrition, some with nutrient-dense vegetables like sweet potatoes and greens, she says. If you want protein, look for brands that add whey, pulses, and beans.
14. Kelp in Everything
One of Whole Foods’ top food trends is kelp because it is a sustainable ingredient that absorbs carbon from the environment, grows quickly, does not require fresh water, and is extremely nutritious and versatile.
As kelp is so sustainable, full of plant-based protein – which is still a hot double-digit trend maker – and powerful for supporting thyroid function and weight loss, Ibrahim says the number of products using it will continue to rise. Products containing kelp can be found in every aisle and in supplements too, including kelp burgers and shrimp, vinegar and hot sauces, seaweed salads and kelp noodles, as well as kelp strips.
15. Tequila, Tequila and More Tequila
Market research shows that tequila has experienced significant growth in bars and restaurants across the country in recent years and it’s not about to slow down any time soon.
Since working with YaVe Tequila, a tequila company based in Brooklyn, I have witnessed a tremendous amount of tequilas entering the market as well as traditional brands gaining popularity, says Amanda Guillen, co-founder and chief creative strategist at Creative Junkies Agency. According to the study, tequila will dominate the spirits market in 2023, especially among female drinkers who previously consumed vodka, but wanted a more complex flavor profile.
16. Mushroom Mania
One final ingredient that will be everywhere in 2023 is the beloved mushroom. “Mushrooms continue to be the ultimate superfood, whether they’re in soup, coffee, or simply on their own,” says Jason Leckey, executive chef at Ruby & Bella’s in Greenwich, Connecticut.
There are 16 delicious food and drink trends a great choice as a meat substitute for meat in dishes like mushroom-based Bolognese. There’s a porcini mushroom stroganoff on Ruby & Bella’s menu right now—it’s delicious. Evans predicts that as our foodways continue to change, more and more people will cook all kinds of mushrooms.