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People are paying more attention to the planet, and what our actions are doing to the planet. And people are showing what they believe in with their dollar. When it comes to eating out, people are looking for their food to be nutritious, but also sustainable and authentic.

As people feel more and more connected to the whole globe through their own travels or armchair traveling through the Food Network and Travel Channel, their tastes are changing and setting trends for next year.

Our Top 4 Restaurant Sustainability Trends for 2019

Kitchen food and vegetable waste collected in a reused container for recycling via a home composter or wormery.

Global Food

We’ve all be watching Anthony Bourdain eat his way around the world for years now. “Pho inspired” soup just won’t cut it, people want the real thing. For many diners, authenticity is important in the food they’re eating, both for the flavor in the dishes and also for the respect to the cultures whose foods they’re enjoying. International condiments are now trending and are an easy way to infuse global inspiration into your dishes. Another global trend that is picking up popularity this year is Middle Eastern food. People are now interested in what different cuisines have to offer and are willing to try different dishes to expand their palate!

Looking for findings on hot-button labor issues like employee turnover and tipping, as well as data-driven food trend predictions for 2018? You won't find them anywhere else but Upserve's State of the Industry.

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Sustainable Seafood

Sustainably caught seafood is less about being a trend and more about a way of life. The future of our oceans and entire species of fish are dependent on humans eating fish caught sustainably. Diners who enjoy seafood are paying attention to which fish are in trouble and which are not, so restaurants need to be too. Seafood Watch is the best resource for helping you make educated choices about the seafood on your menu. There has recently been a growth in the number of sustainable fish farms making it easier for restaurants to obtain seafood in a viable manner!

Food Waste

As global food production puts more and more pressure on our planet, people are concerned with the amount of food being wasted in America. Offer diners options for taking their food home, incorporate excess ingredients into new dishes, and consider a composting program with local farms. Another trend that is allowing food waste to be reduced is grocers selling “ugly” produce that farmers typically don’t sell. The growing popularity in selling “ugly” produce has been embraced by major grocery store chains across the nation. A large portion of food waste comes from not harvesting any produce that has been deemed “ugly”, hence by utilizing cosmetically challenged produce it significantly reduces food waste.

vegetables in crates

More Vegetables (Less Meat)

Wanting more veggies doesn’t mean that diners want to go vegetarian or vegan, but they may want to change up the proportions on their plate. Having dishes with a range of nutritious vegetables and smaller portions of protein are healthier for the consumer and easier on the planet. Some of the biggest food trends of 2018 are vegetable based making it easy to incorporate more vegetables into your menu. People are loving zoodles (noodles made out of zucchini), cauliflower crust instead of dough-based pizza crust, buddha bowls, along with a great deal of other trendy veggie dishes!

Check out Upserve’s State of the Industry Report!

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Kristin lives on the West Side of Providence with her wine blogger husband. When she's not co-hosting their monthly wine tastings, she's planning her next travel adventure and daydreaming about Spanish jamón. She can often be found pouring over travel guides at her favorite neighborhood spot, Nick's on Broadway.