Sustainability and Authenticity
In 2018, there are two big trends continuing to grow in the restaurant industry: sustainability and authenticity. Millennials may be the driving force in this trend, but it’s spreading beyond just your youngest diners.
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 2018.
How can you think about sustainable and authentic trends at your restaurant?
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!
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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!
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.
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!
Your restaurant may already have incorporated some of these beliefs into how you run your restaurant. Let your customers know. Engage with them about what you’re doing and share any changes you make with the planet’s health in mind.