4 Top Food Trends of 2023
Now that 2022 is over, it’s time for predictions again.
Global food and restaurant consultancy Baum + Whiteman takes a deep dive in its latest forecast for food and beverage trends – tapping pistachios as the nut of the year and exploring the possibilities of a potential recession.
Here are some of the report’s highlights:
Trend #1: Increasing Impact of Artificial Intelligence
Beyond robot servers or cooks, look out for AI’s growing impact on dining. In terms of presentation, there is more intrigue with how the Artificial Intelligence image generator creates different images and styles of food. The result is something between fantasy and reality, like these donuts by Israeli developer Omri Feinstein.
In terms of operations, machine learning AIs will serve more than restaurant managers. They will perform tasks such as determining the amount of produce to be chopped based on the day’s weather, making phone calls and moving a dishwasher to the vegetable preparation station.
Trend #2: Rise of private dining clubs
Expect a boom in ultra-luxurious members’ clubs and restaurants that are “public” in name only, such as mansions-turned-clubs and NFT restaurants with high joining fees. These clubs are not the traditional collegiate clubs like Harvard and Yale, but food and drink-centric venues aimed at those who can shell out as much as $500,000 for membership – plus a hefty monthly payment on the actual food, drinks and services.
At Aman Hotel in New York, only hotel guests – who pay the starting daily rate of $3,200 – can wine and dine in its lobby bar and restaurants. Of course, the hotel offers an alternative for non-residents, but it comes at $200,000 for the hotel’s private club. There, members also get access to their concierge services and facilities.
Trend #3: Declining popularity for plant-based foods
The market has spoken. With about a 10% drop in supermarket sales of faux meat by volume in the past year, and the stock price for Beyond Meat falling from $108 to around $12, people are cooling off to plant-based foods.
Among the reasons are price, taste, growing skepticism about the claimed health benefits, and, more importantly, the complex labels – which indicate that these are highly processed foods.
But don’t expect the green trend to end. Plant-based chains are starting up and still attracting long lines, and dozens of alternative protein makers are receiving billions in funding.
“Hybrid meat” that combines cultured meat and plant-based faux meat could be the game changer. With their ‘health halo’ and taste closer to the real thing, these hybrid proteins could help revive people’s interest in plant-based foods.
Trend #4: Pickup over Delivery
Expect more people to pick up their food as inflationary fears and delivery fees continue to rise.
For the push factor, the delivery app experience is choppy for some. With delivery people picking and choosing which customers to prioritize based on certain apps’ signal of generous and bad tippers, some may even find their orders scrapped altogether.
As for the attraction, quick cas restaurants and chains are improving their efficiency by building more pick-up lanes and pickup-only stores, saving customers time and money by as much as 30-50%.
Also, let’s not forget the surge pricing, especially when the delivery fees match the food. As more companies put this dynamic pricing to the test, don’t be surprised by consumer backlash and an even faster shift to the pickup lanes.