The US food service industry is an ever-evolving ecosystem, with trends rising and falling as quickly as the customers’ palates. In order to keep up and take advantage of the ever-changing landscape, franchisors must be aware of the emerging trends and understand their potential to positively or negatively impact their market share. Insight and data from Brizo provide a powerful tool for those seeking to evaluate and understand the advantages and disadvantages of the latest food trends in the United States.
The restaurant and food service industries are one of the primary drivers of the US economy, generating hundreds of billions of dollars and providing jobs to millions. Franchisors should be aware of the fact that new food trends can affect their business both positively and negatively, depending on how they approach them. For example, the introduction of farm-to-table concepts has given those restaurants who are willing to adopt such techniques a competitive advantage when it comes to both cost and quality of products. On the other hand, however, there is also potential for a traditional fast-food or casual dining chain to be adversely affected by a food trend if the customers either do not respond positively to the new concept or if the foodservice provider is unable to keep up with the rapid pace of changes in the industry.
It is important for franchisors to have an understanding of the different types of food trends. In 2023, the major trends include the expansion of plant-based proteins, global flavors, health and wellness, and convenience-based foods. Each trend has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and it is important for franchisors to know which trend lines up with their brand values and how they will approach such trend.
Plant-based proteins have seen extensive growth in the food service industry. As public awareness around the environmental impact of animal agriculture continues to increase, so does the demand for vegetarian and vegan options. Franchisors should be aware of the fact that offering these options may allow them to capture more customers, however it also adds complexity to their menu and supply chain, as well as creates additional food costs. It is important to consider the impact that such trends may have on their business before jumping on the bandwagon.
Global flavors remain a popular choice as consumers seek out unique and interesting dishes. Many restaurateurs have implemented this trend to their menu, in order to capture the attention of a more diverse audience. While global flavors offer a wide variety of choices for customers, it is important for franchisors to be aware of the shortcomings associated with this trend. These include the potential for higher cost of these dishes, as well as the extra effort needed for training kitchen staff members on differentiation of ethnicity flavors.
Health and wellness-focused food trend has been rising for some time. As customer’s health becomes increasingly important to them, they are more likely to seek out healthier options as opposed to those that are high in fat and calories. While offering healthier menu items may initially be more expensive, it may be a sensible strategy that will attract more customers in the long run.
Finally, convenience-based foods continue driving food service industry. Customers are more willing to forgo high-end restaurants in favor of more cost-effective and convenient options instead. Franchisors should also be aware of the fact that while such trend may make lunch or dinner more accessible and affordable to customers, it may also come with a downside, in the form of potential losses in customer loyalty or decreased food quality.