Food trends come and go, spreading through social media, restaurants, recipe blogs, and even to CPG brands.
Avocado toast hit its peak around 2016, and is still found on many menus today. Remember dalgona coffee? Or cake pops? These items had their moment, but have since faded away.
For those in the food industry, trying to stay on top of every food fad or trend can be exhausting – and totally not necessary.
What can be more productive and successful in the long run is focusing on trending ingredients. Compared to a recipe or dish, ingredients typically have a longer run time in the spotlight. Ingredient trends are more “slow and steady” while food trends have a more “peak, crash, and burn” lifespan.
If your foodservice establishment is trying to always incorporate a trending dish, your menu will be chaotic, confusing, and non-cohesive. Instead, choosing a handful of trending ingredients every few months can help keep your menu fresh and your establishment relevant. Using specialty ingredients that are just starting to gain the attention of consumers
If you’re a flavor maker, it’s helpful to understand what ingredients are trending and in what regions. The same goes for food distributors working with restaurants; the insights can be incredibly valuable in order to know what to provide for your customers.
Every year, or every few months, specific ingredients seem to come into the spotlight. Trends begin in a number of ways – often, they begin with chefs in the fine dining scene. Hence consumer food preferences are heavily influenced by what they encounter on restaurant menus.
In recent years, social media has also been a driver for food trends and fads – more specifically, these platforms are home to “viral recipes”. Instagram and TikTok are top platforms for food and recipes, and certain dishes can reach millions of likes and views. For example, in 2022, pasta chips, pesto eggs, feta pasta, salmon bowls, and pizza toasts were a few of these viral recipes.
So what’s trending in 2022? According to FoodandWine.com, seeds (like pumpkin, sunflower, chia, etc.) were going to become more popular than nuts this year. Earlier in the year, National Geographic UK predicted ingredients like kelp, and udon noodles would be new top ingredients in 2022. Fungi have been steadily gaining momentum over the past few years (alongside the plant-based protein movement), and we a seeing more restaurants and grocery stores carrying artisanal mushrooms like lion’s mane, oyster, king trumpet, and chanterelle.
Now that you have a better idea of what ingredients are more prevalent on restaurant menus and grocery store shelves this year, we can do a deeper dive into each of the ingredients. Brizo’s foodservice market analytics platform has data on 11 billion menu items with a wide variety of filters to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Here is what we found on seeds, fungi, seaweed, and udon noodles:
In the Brizo ingredient filter, we chose to show establishments that offered sesame, chia, flax, hemp, and nigella seeds. In the U.S and Canada, 19% (169,989) of establishments are listed as offering these seeds somewhere on their menu. More of these establishments are independents (92,773), as opposed to chains (77,216). The top cuisine associated with this ingredient is American.
Compared to the other ingredients, fungi is an ingredient that is more evenly distributed across the U.S. and Canada. However, a few areas that have the most establishments serving mushrooms are California, Texas, New York, and Ontario.
The “seaweed” filter on Brizo, which includes hijiki, nori, wakame, and kombu, shows that there are 15,246 establishments that offer one of these varieties. Japanese cuisine is the top cuisine that uses seaweed – which makes sense because nori is a key ingredient for sushi rolls.
Using the “Asian noodle” filter, 10,961 establishments in the U.S. and Canada show up as offering this ingredient on their menu. This ingredient appears to be most popular on the West coast of these countries, as well as in Illinois, New York, and Ontario. The top cuisine associated with “Asian noodles” is Thai food, while the top dietary style is “fried food”.
As you can see for yourself, Brizo FoodMetrics can provide a high level of insight into trending ingredients. It’s one thing to know what the trending ingredients are, but it is much more insightful to know where these ingredients are trending, where they have yet to become popular, and who is already using them.
As a flavor maker, this level of information can be incredibly helpful for knowing what regions you should expand into. As a food distributor, you should know what ingredients will be in demand, and who will need them. Restaurant brands can learn which of their competitors are using trending ingredients, and who is not (allowing them to have a competitive edge!).
The best part is – these are just four ingredients that can be analyzed on Brizo’s FoodMetrics data analytics platform. On Brizo’s real-time, online platform, you can access 1.2 million foodservice locations and their menu items with pricing, that can help your food or beverage production company identify restaurants that offer dishes or drinks that you distribute or manufacture.
Even better – you can try it for yourself with a free trial today!