4 hottest food trends to watch in 2022

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As this year draws to a close, let’s see what lies ahead for 2022 from global food and catering consultancy Baum + Whiteman. From food processors to plant-based chicken, here are highlights from their latest forecast on food and drink trends:

The big picture

The pandemic has changed the way people eat in restaurants these days. Shorter menus, fewer waiters, vaccination cards for entry, earlier closing time, QR codes, difficult deliveries, higher surcharges in response to rising food prices, for n ‘ to name a few.

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Michael Whiteman, Chairman of Baum + Whiteman, predicts a profitable second half of 2022 for restaurants. “It’s because of the higher vaccination rates; gradual disentanglement of supply chains; consumers are increasingly willing to pay higher prices and restaurateurs are finding out how to do more business with fewer employees. Outdoor dining will become permanent in many cities, increasing seating capacity and restaurant income, ”he noted.

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Trend # 1: The rise of food processors

For those wondering what the biggest trend for 2022 is, is the rise of robots and automation in the restaurant industry. While the concept is not new, the noticeable acceleration is a result of labor shortages due to workers being fed up with working conditions, continually inadequate wages, and contactless meals as a measure of social distancing. .

Baum + Whiteman sees an integrated workspace – with baking machines and “human employees” – in many F + B companies. At Miso Robotics, a robot named Flippy is tasked with flipping burgers and making fries in 11 locations in White Castle. There’s also the “semi-automated” Sushiro restaurant in Tokyo, where machines cook and grind the rice, along with the vinegar seasoning, and human employees garnish the sushi rice with hand-cut fish.

Expect to find more food vending machines (or “robots in decorated boxes” as the consulting firm describes it), serving “pizzas, salads, coffee, juices, hot and cold dishes. in bowls and various pasta ”. You will see vending machines in “supermarkets, office buildings, hospitals, schools” while others will be hidden as an additional aid to “manual production” in restaurants.

Trend # 2: Vegetable chicken is everywhere

Forget the Chicken Sandwich Wars, the 2022 Fast Food Chain Chicken Battle is all about plant-based options. With the volatility of animal protein prices and the real shortage of chicken, it’s time to go for meatless nuggets and fillets.

So far the market loves it. A&W has sold its Beyond Meat nuggets at 1,000 locations across Canada; Panda Express completely sold their Beyond Meat orange chicken during a test in LA and New York. Even reluctant fast food chains that have repeatedly tested their vegan recipes like McDonald’s and KFC could finally “tiptoe into the market” next year.

Trend # 3: More ghost kitchens

As the growing demand for food deliveries has proven the economic viability of ghost kitchens, we are now seeing them grow by the hundreds. Reef Kitchens plans to open 700 ghost kitchens for Wendy’s over the next five years; Ghost Kitchen Brands to Unveil 30 Multi-Brand Ghost Kitchens at Walmart over Next Two Years; More Kitchen United – which has an agreement with Westfield Valley Fair (a shopping center in Santa Clara) – will allow shoppers to order “a consolidated package of all tenants in the mall’s food court” through an app.

Baum + Whiteman anticipates a “competitive general scrum” in the coming year, so much so that it raises questions: What are the effects of fierce competition? Will there be tons of empty seats in restaurants? What is the saturation point? And how will people “react when they find out that the food brands they’ve found online don’t exist in the real world”?

Either way, the projected numbers look promising. Ghost kitchens may represent a trillion dollar industry in ten years, according to Euromonitor, and Grand View Research predicts the market size to reach $ 139.37 billion by 2028.

Trend # 4: Less alcohol

Many of those who fell off the fitness wagon during the pandemic will resume mindful eating and drinking. So in 2022, expect to see people drinking less alcohol.

Beyond a renewed desire to adopt “healthier” habits, this can be attributed to the increase in products with low alcohol content (31%) according to IWSR, a London research organization; smart packaging and marketing; as well as more enticing alcohol-free products that “taste more like the real thing.”

Additionally, some believe that other products are taking market share, such as cannabis and fortified products such as hard kombucha and packaged tea fortified with beer alcohol. But consumers are not completely cutting off alcohol. In addition to more organic and biodynamic wines on the menu, Baum + Whiteman expects more than 50% of people who opt for low-alcohol drinks to alternate with full-strength drinks.

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