2022 Food Trend Predictions

Flavor Experiences: Matt Faul, CEO of Wolverine Management

I predict more unique flavor experiences will happen next year. With the boom of mixologists and culinary creatives, diners are now able to experience explosions of unique flavors and ingredients unlike ever before. The rise of social media and influencers, who like to treat food as a flavorful journey, creates a demand for restaurants and culinary experts to find the next trend or flavor wave that can create an impact. Diners want to bite into something or sip a cocktail with a flavor journey that has a beginning, middle and end. 

 Plant-based proteins and Sustainable Diets: Alex Kramarchuk, CEO of Future Food Enterprises, producer of PAOW! (People and our World)

Plant-based proteins. The increasing demand for plant-based proteins is expanding to more consumers than ever. Whether it’s for health reasons, to help tackle climate change, or concerns for animal welfare, the love for meatless alternatives continues to increase.

Sustainable diets. Many people want to understand the ingredients in their food and are generally seeking a diet with fewer and/or all-natural, locally-sourced ingredients. Because of this, versatile meatless alternatives continue to make their way onto menus, and not just strictly vegan/vegetarian restaurants.

Polynesian/Tiki Culture: Paul Flanigan, Founder of Old School Hospitality:

In 2022, I expect to see a rise in Polynesian/Tiki Culture, especially in light of the pandemic. Tiki culture is trans formative, like being somewhere completely different from your present local, a half a world away. Tahiti, Fiji and Bora Bora just sound exotic. People want fun, laughter and beach drinks, aka RUM!  Vodka was hot, then tequila, then whiskey and whiskey bars. Now it is time for rum drinks to have their moment again to give people that good ‘Tiki Time’ feeling.

Hibiscus: Chef Dina Butterfield, Uchi Miami:

I believe there are some ingredients being ‘discovered.’ One of them is hibiscus; lately I have several people asking about it for desserts, cocktails and crudos.  I was raised drinking “agua de Jamaica.” It’s served in every Mexican household during lunch which is our main meal. It’s sold in the markets and in the ice cream shops.  Jamaican flowers can be cooked and utilized as a savory or sweet dish. Hibiscus is a healthy flower and is considered a diuretic so it has the potential to be the next superfood. 

Vegetables: Chef Josh Elliott and 3x James Beard nominee, chef Niven Patel at Orno

I really love to see the way vegetables are becoming a focus. At Orno we have about half the menu being vegetables. Actually sticking to the seasonal produce like with our heirloom tomatoes right now is so special. For us as cooks it’s good to challenge ourselves and step out of the meat and fish game especially working under a Chef like Niven who is primarily vegetarian. Our most popular dishes right now are onion and sunchokes. I love that we are looking at it as something that’s substantial, not just a side dish and treating it with respect. I predict cabbage and okra are going to be really big next year!

2022 Food Trends buy James Beard winner, chef Hugh Acheson:

  • Revisiting classic French food will be big.
  • Mexican-style barbecue is exciting. Valentina’s in Austin is a great example.
  • Beans will have a good year.
  • I think restaurants doing meal kits for home cooks will grow a lot.
  • To-go food will continue the growth seen during the pandemic.
  • Many many poké restaurants will close.
  • Smaller menus will be common, with staff shortages continuing.