The following article was published in Avendra’s 2019 Cost Outlook Forecast. Avendra customers can visit myAvendra.com to download Avendra’s comprehensive 2019 Cost Outlook Forecast.
As consumer food preferences continuously change, hotel operators are faced with the challenge of keeping up. Over the past few months, we’ve seen a boom in solo dining, the creation of plant-based meals and non-alcoholic cocktails, and an emphasis on sustainable food. BOSS Magazine reports similar findings, noting “The summer food trends of 2018 have been influenced by the need to be healthier, creative, and adventurous.”
Here are four of the latest trends that will help your F&B offerings stand out:
Eating Solo. Eating alone was always portrayed with a social stigma attached to it, until now. The busier we are as a society, the easier it is to just grab a meal on the go or eat at home rather than go through the process of waiting for an appetizer, an entrée and paying the bill. It is more rewarding and economical to create an in-house masterpiece than go out and spend money and time. Food and beverage manufacturers have responded by creating single-portion packaging, single serve meal deliveries and websites with food “hacks” for solo eaters. Restaurants are adapting to the new “norm” by introducing large communal tables so people can “be alone together.”
The Rise of the Flexitarian Diet. With more restaurants that are embracing the plant-centric lifestyle with foods such as quinoa, tofu, Brussels sprouts, etc., chefs are finding new and innovative ways to create plant-based entrées. Restaurants, supermarkets and suppliers are taking note in a major way as well. Food products all now have a healthy spin to things from veggie chips to vegan burgers and desserts. The meat alternatives are going mainstream and we are seeing more and more plant-based versions of chicken, steak, meatballs, etc. Today, there are so many substitutes for dairy and eggs that it is becoming easier to be creative in the most healthy way possible. People can take what they see on social media and create vegan meals in the comfort of their home based on what is now available to them on the shelves at grocery stores. Society has vegan/vegetarian recipes at the tips of their fingers through Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and other social media sites. Communication here is key and using terms like plant-based/plant-forward rather than vegan and vegetarian seem to resonate better with consumers.
Non-Alcoholic Cocktails. Millennials can’t get enough of non-alcoholic beverages. Last year everyone was all about matcha and turmeric lattes. This year, the health kick seems to be here to stay. From gourmet lemonade to specialty teas to mocktails, we are now craving healthier drink options. The non-drinker movement has evolved, but people still want to go out and socialize. What better way to do that than at a bar with crafty non-alcoholic beverages? These drinks are still social media post worthy and make you feel that they are just as fun to drink as an alcoholic beverage would be, minus the side effects.
Hyper-Local Food. It is obvious that there is a need for healthier options when it comes to what we put in our bodies, and chefs are reacting to that. Society wants to see what they can create at home reflected in the restaurants or stores that they eat/shop in. There has always been a need for dishes to be created with ingredients that are grown locally, but hyper-local food is a trend that has just started to pick up and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. As restaurants are trying to eliminate as much distance between farm to table as possible, we are seeing more creativity, with some even growing food on property.