For restaurants and manufacturers alike, trends within food and beverage are constantly evolving, and it can be hard to keep up. The Food Institute recently sat down with one of our very best, Chef Jerry McDonald, to discuss trends he thinks will be booming within the food industry this year:

The Food Institute (TFI): What are a few of the biggest trends to watch for in the food industry in the year ahead?

Chef Jerry McDonald (CJM): So far, 2023 has a number of categories, cuisines, and menu items that have been trending in big ways.  From a category perspective, many over-arching themes include comfort, interactive, and adaptive/customizable foods, with delivery remaining strong and people valuing sustainability and authenticity.  Korean flavors and ingredients still dominate menus, with American comfort and Caribbean and tropical flavors gaining strength.  Indian and regional Mexican flavors are on the horizon as well.  From a flavor perspective, diners can’t get enough charred and spicy flavors, pickled and fermented condiments and sides, with classic sauces like aioli and comeback being reimagined and given new life with flavors like black garlic, chili crisp, and kimchi.

TFI: Some have suggested spiciness is a trend to watch in 2023. Would you agree?

CJM: Our team likes to say that some like it hot and others like it hotter when it comes to the popularity of spicy foods. Some of the most consistent trend lines have centered around ethnic and regional US hot sauces. Flavors like Buffalo, chipotle, sriracha, Nashville hot, and habanero have laid the groundwork for ghost pepper, gochujang, chili crisp, kimchi, and zhug, with other hot flavors like nam prik pao to likely follow in the years to come.  There will always be gimmicks like the one-chip challenge, but the mainstream popularity of items like Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and Doritos have proven the craveability and staying power of hot flavors.  Hot flavors are no longer for outliers and thrill-seekers—people of all ages, from coast to coast and everywhere in between are craving the heat and ferment of spicy foods.

TFI: Do you feel nostalgic food items (e.g. mac n’ cheese) will continue to be popular in 2023?

CJM: Comfort foods were convenient during the pandemic because people could easily make them at home, and they also lived up to their moniker in providing some degree of “comfort” during the most turbulent and uncertain times in most of our lives.  In doing so, they also had a renaissance of sorts, and younger generations were exposed to some comfort and classic foods for the first time.  Dishes like mac and cheese, fried chicken, and meatloaf are classics for a reason, they truly are comforting and fulfilling.  Other foods which aren’t traditionally thought of as classic comfort foods like pizza, pasta, and bread also saw a resurgence because of the comfort they provided as well.  As we move into 2023, all of those and other comfort foods are still trending with twists and new flavors like black garlic, hot honey, ssamjang, and onion jam, giving them new interest.  Comfort desserts and sweets are also seeing a revitalization, like hand pies, doughnuts, and bars, with classics like cherry and apple mingling with the likes of cookie butter, cereal milk, and dark chocolate.

TFI: Any other trends we should be on the lookout for?

CJM: Likely because the constraints of the pandemic limited our interactions, a number of food trends, especially in form and desired service style, embrace communal dining.  Tapas, dim sum, Korean BBQ, and izakaya-style foods and small plates are growing in popularity, as are many other shared foods and food-sharing experiences.  We were already seeing the communal dining direction pre-pandemic, with the rise of food halls, family-style service in restaurants, and communal seating, but the drive for interaction and shared experiences continue to reach new heights to meet the ever-present demand for them. People are also reaching for interaction in their actual foods as well.  We’re seeing more and more the use of dipping sauces for sandwiches and burgers.  From birria tacos and queso sauce for burgers to truffle aioli for sandwiches and hot honey for chicken, everyone is craving flavorful sauces to spice up their foods.

Stay on Trend with Midas

Whether you’re a food manufacturer looking to add some of these trending items to your supply or a restaurant looking to spice up your menu, Midas can help. Our custom, award-winning dry blends rival scratch culinary recipes and our innovative ingredients decrease costs, reduce SKU handling, increase production output, and significantly improve taste. Contact us today to receive samples or learn how we can create a custom recipe just for you.