10 Must Try Popular Food Trends of the Year

10 Must Try Popular Food Trends of the Year

Wondering what new popular food trends to leverage on this year? We’ve got a list of the top 10 hit-makers for your restaurant to attempt.

These audience preferences include everything from fashionable foods and seasonings to culinary practices, and reflect new and changing attitudes toward dining and health.

By taking advantage of these popular food trends and following the latest restaurant industry statistics, you can position your restaurant as newsworthy, make sure you remain relevant among rising competition, and become even more profitable.

And yes, if you’re really strategic (and a little fortunate), you could even become Insta-famous.

But, also bear in mind, just because something is fashionable and dominating culinary news doesn’t mean it’s necessarily appropriate for your restaurant.

That’s why we’ll also navigate through three essential questions you should ask to determine whether adopting one of these current culinary trends is worth it for you. Plus, check out our additional section of trending cuisine and forthcoming popular concepts to look out for.

Current “Hot” Restaurant Food and Drink Trends

1. Serve Up the Flavor of the Year: Tamarind

Tamarind is a sweet-and-sour flavored fruit that originated in Madagascar. Its pulp and kernel powder are both used in cookery (and even cocktails), and tamarind is about to surge in popularity now that it’s been named the flavor of the year by McCormick & Company.

The greatest part? These menu ideas all leverage on other top culinary trends like grilled cuisine, non-alcoholic beverages, and piquant dishes.

2. Mushrooms Dominate as a Meat Alternative

Mushrooms Dominate as a Meat Alternative

Plant-based cuisines have been rising in prominence for years, but now, mushrooms have assumed center stage among culinary trends. In fact, the Mushroom Council has identified almost 50 articles designating this vegetable the “it” ingredient for 2024.

In addition, the council reports that specialty mushroom sales have risen 63% between 2012 and 2023. So, what types of fungi are on the table?

“King oyster mushrooms are ruling the day,” according to National Geographic. Chefs are using this thick-stemmed mushroom to create mushroom scallops, calamari, wings, and more – all with this fungi as the substitute for flesh.

3. Old Favorites are New Again

This year, consider vintage when it comes to the latest culinary trends – except instead of apparel, we’re talking about cuisine.

“Monin Gourmet Flavorings names beloved childhood flavors as a top trend, citing Mintel’s data that 72% of consumers enjoy things that remind them of their younger days,” reports Restaurant Business.

This tendency has been reinforced by the National Restaurant Association, which named World Stage Soups and Stews as its top 2024 trend. Who doesn’t recall their mom’s signature stew?

4. Floral Flavors Bloom in Popularity

Market research company Datassential has placed the spotlight on flavors like lavender and violet as part of the firm’s latest culinary trends report.

In addition, 2024 data from Innova Market Insights backs up that floral is one of the trendiest popular food trends right now, with one in three consumers worldwide seeking out these flavors in the past year.

“The fastest-growing floral flavors from 2018 to 2023 include chamomile (33% compound annual growth rate), peach blossom (23%) and honeysuckle (19%),” reports Food and Beverage Insider

5. Sandwiches with International Flare Take Hold

Sandwiches with International Flare Take Hold

Diners have always enjoyed portable menu items like sandwiches, but now this cuisine is rising in popularity in a whole new manner, by incorporating international flavor.

“Top Chef winner Buddha Lo, for instance, touts a black truffle grilled cheese with onion marma-

Lade,” reports QSR magazine. “The Argentine choripan is hot, as is birria, perfect for dipping the reinvigorated French dip, showing up all over Latin menus.”

6. The Culinary World Looks to Europe

Europe is well-known for its array of exceptional cuisine, but in recent years, Latin American and Asian dishes have taken a bit of the prominence. That’s all changing in 2024, as European latest food trends is back and more innovative than ever.

“Look across the country and you’ll find new Italian restaurants with bolder, spicier, often TikTok-

friendly dishes on the menu; French locations that combine both light and indulgent dishes, new takes on classic desserts and confectionary, and a less formal view of fine dining,” reports Datassential.

Read Also: Essential Foods for the South Beach Diet

7. Alternative Milk Items Catch Consumers’ Eyes

For years, consumers have been consuming less milk and opting for alternatives like soy and almond milk. This evolution will continue, but with an expansion of new milk items, like those made from cereals and macadamia almonds.

A recent Consumer Curiosity Report shows that 40% of U.S. households presently purchase plant-based milk, and more than 80% of consumers are “a little curious” about the beverage. Non-dairy milk sales are trending upward, too, by 8.5% from 2021 to 2022 and 11% from 2022 to 2023. Oat milk specifically saw a 22.6% increase in 2023 over the previous year.

8. Charcuterie Makes Way for Seacuterie

That’s correct – seafood is taking over a charcuterie board near you. Different from a costly high-end seafood tower, seacuterie is all about flavor for a price you can tolerate.

These boards typically feature assorted fish that’s either fresh or that’s been cured, preserved, or prepared, as well as seafood. The seafood is usually accompanied by various house-made seasonings and condiments.

9. Consumers Crave “Swicy” Baking

Consumers Crave “Swicy” Baking

The traditional sugar tooth is evolving. Consumers are now interested in baked products that carry a bit of a flavor. And even if you don’t own a patisserie, this is news to use if you have a confectionary menu.

“Sweet heat flavor is on trend. And it’s more than haphazardly adding seasonings as secondary constituents to the concoction. It’s nuanced heat, peppery with a twist and “swicy” (sweet spicy),” reports Bakers Journal. “There will be more fruit flavor profiles blended with spiciness or sweet heat fusions.”

10. Understanding What’s in Your Dishes

Customers increasingly concern about sustainability and how animals are treated in the production of sustenance. They want to know what’s in their popular food trends, if it’s nutritious, how it was produced, and where it’s from.

As a consequence, we’re seeing restaurants become more discerning about the vendors they work with. They want to partner with suppliers who support sustainability, care about cleansing the environment, and share the same values.