With an ever-changing landscape of trends, shifts in consumer preferences, technological advances, and a cost-of-living crisis thrown into the mix, foodies and restaurants alike eagerly await what 2023 will whip up for the food industry.
From emerging cuisines and unique flavour combinations to kitchen robots and vertical farming, we explore the upcoming food trends for 2023 that will dominate the dining table…
1. Food as a “wellness” category
As in previous years, health and wellness have shaped a number of trends as consumers continue to take a proactive and holistic approach to well-being. 2023 is no different. Consumers will place greater emphasis on happiness, emotional wellness, and energy levels, especially as they realise the impact that fatigue can have on long-term wellness.
As businesses in the food industry look ahead to 2023, they must consider trends that will help them stay competitive and viable. Focusing on health benefits should be at the top of that list. Eating habits have been changing over recent years as consumers become more conscious about what they eat and its impact on their bodies.
Food businesses should consider adding plant-based options, organic ingredients, low-sugar alternatives, healthier meals and gluten-free products to their menu for 2023.
2. Conscious choices
As environmental concerns continue to grow, more and more consumers are looking for ways to reduce their ecological footprint and support sustainability efforts in the food industry. As part of this movement, food trends in 2023 will be increasingly focused on sustainable, planet-friendly alternatives.
With the rise of plant-based diets and sustainable farming practices, the global population is set to drastically reduce its meat consumption by 2023. Worldwide sales of plant-based “meat” products are expected to grow to over $35 billion in 2027.
Plant proteins such as lentils, beans and quinoa are expected to become even more popular due to their high nutritional value and low environmental impact. Additionally, locally and ethically sourced ingredients that avoid transportation-related emissions will become a mainstay in many eco-friendly kitchens around the world.
Plant-based proteins are also cost-effective alternatives, helping households remain conscious of their budgets while still being able to enjoy a variety of meals.
Restaurants should also be implementing eco-friendly or edible packaging solutions that extend beyond traditional single-use plastic containers.
In times of economic crisis, shoppers are seen to value brands that reassure people that they have their best interests at heart and their hard-earned cash is going to good causes.
3. Experimenting with flavours, ingredients and techniques
Consumers are seeking new and exciting ways to use ingredients and revamp classic, retro dishes. From experimenting with ingredients and flavours to new cooking techniques and meal delivery options, savvy chefs and foodies alike will be eager to try out the latest creations.
Deliciously unique and creative dishes are being created by chefs in an effort to keep up with the ever-changing culinary landscape. Ingredients such as exotic South Asian spices Middle Eastern herbs, vibrant fruits and vegetables, inventive proteins, and even unusual combinations of flavours are all being used in unexpected ways – often resulting in extraordinary culinary experiences.
Not only do these flavour combinations excite our taste buds, but they also provide us with a wide variety of nutritious meals that can be tailored according to individual dietary needs.
By using healthier alternatives to classic comfort foods such as vegan proteins or gluten-free substitutes, food businesses ensure their offerings cater to all dietary preferences and requirements. By exploring new ideas through experimentation with ingredients and flavours, chefs have the opportunity to revolutionise dining experiences while still providing classic favourites – something consumers will look forward to in 2023.
4. Emerging cuisines
While everyday staples like Italian or Chinese remain favourites in many homes, unique flavours are becoming increasingly popular. Korean cuisine is set to become one of the most sought-after flavours for 2023. From classic kimchi to gochujang-spiced dishes, this tasty cuisine continues to win hearts all over the world with its tantalising flavours and diverse range of dishes. Other cuisines to take 2023 by storm include Sri Lankan, Cuban and Pan-African.
5. Robotic kitchen assistants
The food industry continues to evolve and innovate, and 2023 is no exception. Robot kitchen assistants are quickly becoming a part of the food service industry and will be commonplace next year. With their help, businesses that serve food can keep up with upcoming trends and technologies to stay competitive.
The AI-powered robots help streamline processes for back-of-house operations such as chopping vegetables, stirring sauces, slicing meats and frying foods. They are designed to be efficient and cost-effective while reducing labour costs for food businesses. They can also reduce human error when preparing meals because they are programmed for precise actions, eliminating guesswork from recipes.
Robot kitchen assistants have been developed with advanced technology so they can replicate precise motions used by humans. This capability can improve accuracy when preparing complicated dishes that require precise techniques.
6. Smart kitchens
Another hot trend that is gaining traction is connected kitchens – smart appliances that enable chefs to save time, energy, and money while producing delicious meals.
Connected kitchens are equipped with intelligent features such as automation, data-driven decision-making, and real-time feedback loops. Through sensors and predictive analytics, chefs can quickly access valuable insights into how their operations run to optimise the cooking process. Not only do these systems make it much easier for chefs to manage their operations but also provide powerful tools for creating unique culinary experiences for customers.
Connected kitchen technologies can allow chefs to customise recipes based on customer preferences or even suggest dishes based on dietary restrictions or allergies.
7. Vertical farming
This innovative agriculture technique has already been gaining popularity since its inception and is set to become one of the most prominent upcoming food trends for 2023.
Vertical farming makes use of hydroponics, aquaponics, aeroponics and other techniques which involve growing crops vertically inside a controlled environment such as greenhouses or warehouses.
It eliminates traditional soil-based farming methods and drastically reduces water consumption while maximising crop yields with optimal conditions for plants. This type of farming removes seasonality from crop production as it does not rely on natural weather patterns for growth but instead utilises artificial lighting and temperature control systems.
8. Social media foodspo
Social media channels are becoming a go-to outlet for home cooks to find inspiration and keep up with upcoming food trends, racking up millions of views. Savvy chefs and home cooks are now turning to social media as a source for discovering the latest food trends and ideas they can incorporate into their recipes, exploring new flavours, recipes and ingredients from around the world.
Whether it’s trying out an innovative plant-based pasta dish or utilising ingredients like matcha powder or jackfruit that were once unfamiliar, home cooks can discover up-and-coming flavours and techniques without ever leaving their homes.
From food bloggers and Instagram influencers to TikTok and YouTube tutorials, home cooks are able to hone their cooking skills from the comfort of their own kitchens. With just a few clicks, you can find an array of ideas for new dishes and techniques to try in your own kitchen.
9. Cost-of-living crisis
Rising costs due to economic hardship will present challenges that impact consumer habits, making it essential for manufacturers to be aware of what’s happening in the industry to remain competitive and profitable. Soaring energy prices and food bills will cause shoppers to think twice about purchases.
Whether due to raw material shortages or inflation, food and beverage manufacturers are having to deal with higher operating costs and, in turn, higher retail prices for consumers.
To capitalise on 2023’s food trends, manufacturers must focus on developing products that meet these consumer demands while still being cost-effective; this may include using alternative ingredients or changing up recipes in order to reduce manufacturing costs without sacrificing quality or taste.