Executive chefs and culinary experts at Benchmark, a global hospitality company, have observed recent food trends and curated the top 10 dining trends to look for in 2019.
“Food and Beverage is an ever-evolving realm of experiences,” says Patrick Berwald, Benchmark’s vice president food and beverage. “The opportunity for us is not only to be ahead of the trend, but to understand who tomorrow’s customer will be, what fulfills their needs and how our properties can be ready to meet that demand.”
1. The Tea Party
People are beginning to think of tea with the same reverence as coffee. The many varieties, applications and benefits of the drink have U.S. coffee drinkers swapping out their caffeinated beverages of choice. Tea bars have begun to pop up, showcasing new innovations like craft tea blending, nitro tea on tap and even tea cocktails.
2. Meat Lovers
For the traditional beef lover, the repertoire of steak selections is expanding. New cuts such as the Vegas Strip steak (from the shoulder area), the merlot cut (from the heel) and the bavette (the bottom part of sirloin) will soon be available. For the nonmeat eaters, heme (from the Greek word for “blood”) is at the cutting edge of food science. A possible stepping stone to a more environmentally sustainable meat and protein alternative, tech food companies are using heme to bring a meaty quality to wheat and potato protein burgers.
Boutique/lifestyle hotels and chef-driven eateries are starting to produce home-grown kombucha in a variety of styles. Additionally, they are expanding their line to include more pickles, sauerkraut, kefir, tempeh, and kimchi, and well as carrots and other fermented foods. With this trend, the food world is focusing on consuming the least processed food possible while increasing probiotics to improve the immune system.
4. Tastes like Crickets!
Chefs are looking for a new source of protein and insects are appearing as a sensible choice. They prove to be low in fat, have three times as much protein as beef, they exist in large quantities, and they can be found everywhere. Popular intake options include cricket flour, which is used in breads and pastries and other insect powders that can actually enhance cocktails.
5. Farm to Table 2.0
Farm-to-table has been popular for awhile now, and it’s not going anywhere. It is, however, changing course so that the chef/farmer is now custom farming to specify what seeds are being planted for new menu development. New relationships are forming between the farms and restaurants which will change the way each supports the other to sustain farming inside their community, ultimately preserving sustainable farms for future generations.
6. Are you In or Out?
Online and mobile food-ordering services have made it easier than ever to eat at home, and diners have started placing more value on being homebound due to the convenience of delivery. Projections for the future though, still place an importance on eating in the brick and mortar of a restaurant. Outside eateries just offer factors that you can’t get at home such as building relationships in social atmospheres and growing your palate through adventurous cuisine.
7. The Vegetarian Factor
Vegetarianism is no longer a rarity and restaurants are changing to accommodate that. Menus will soon see a large portion of their dishes dedicated to vegetarians and other plant-based dining habits. Dishes are even becoming vegetable focused, with proteins as the complement. Even vegetarian tasting menus are quickly becoming the staple in many accredited establishments.
8. Food & The Greater Good
Social responsibility and supporting the hungry is going to continue to be especially important to the food and beverage industry. Chefs are turning their attention away from social media and instead focusing on the deeper issues, how food is involved, and putting greater efforts behind charities that provide sustainable support. The collective culinary community is starting to put their food where their mouth is.
9. No Substitutions Please
It’s time for a culinary remix. Chefs are excited to ditch the typical ingredients diners have become too familiar with. Gone are the days of traditional citrus flavors from limes and lemons. Enter the flavors of cumquat, shaddock and citron. Say goodbye to kale and hello to other wild weeds like sorrel, dandelion greens and amaranth. Finally, discard your honey and agave and find the sweet life from sources such as carrots, sweet potatoes, golden beets, butternut squash and corn.
10. Dietitian, the New Celebrity Chef
Professional dietitians will rank among celebrity chefs due to their understanding of nutrition combined with leveraging technology which will allow consumers to personalize their food experiences. The convergence of mobile and Internet technologies will allow providers and consumers to have access to personal dietary requirements at restaurants, retail locations and quick-service eateries. Personally-assigned nutrition will become commonplace and a major influence on diet as we focus more on the science of food.