The sun is high for the food industry this year and both food business owners and manufacturers are all armed to help customers adapt to these emerging trends.
The restaurant and food service industry has faced challenges and changes like no other in operation during the pandemic, with delivery options increasing and full-service cafes and restaurants just getting back on their feet. The year 2022 brings new hope that not only will a new-normal life resume, but that foodservice operators will continue to rise against the odds and do what they do best: thrive and adapt to be at the top of their game.
If you are running a food business, here are top trends to watch out for in 2022 to make this year yours.
March to Sustainability
In 2022, if you still think sustainability is nothing but a buzzword for young consumers, it’s time to wake up. Today, almost everybody in the food industry is heading towards a sustainable direction and food service businesses have come to terms with adopting sustainable practices as a means to invest in their own long-term sustainability.
Now that more people, both business owners and consumers are more exposed to information from science and data about the human impact on climate change, many have started to go out of their way to observe a more sustainable way of living.
Consumers are more aware than ever before about how their personal decisions, and the brands they support, can affect the environment. Popular trends in the food service business are reduced water consumption, sustainable packaging (recyclable, biodegradable, or options that significantly reduce plastic use) and clean, eco-friendly detergent and cleaning solutions for both products and equipment.
From equipment to packaging, small and big businesses alike are striving towards achieving a greener future in all aspects of the food service industry. This is a trend that is going to take over 2022 and will continue to keep growing.
The Rise of Plant-Based
Whether it is the latest plant-based meat alternatives or the rise in popularity of dairy-free milks, eating healthier, greener, and most importantly, cutting out meat has become synonymous to success in the food industry. Plant-based foods are a trend here to stay and are predicted to grow exponentially in the coming years. For instance, cultured meat made its marketing debut almost a decade ago and will continue to rise as a leading alternative-protein source.
As these new processes rise in popularity and scale up, specialists will work with customers to bring their food science expertise for conventional foods to this new technology everyone can enjoy while living healthily.
Less Alcohol Trend
The Covid-19 pandemic and the succeeding concern for better health is very much likely to have accelerated and magnified an already fast-developing worldwide trend for less alcohol consumption. Notice lately how restaurant operators are now adding more alcohol-free beverages to their menus: alcohol-free beers and mocktails are predicted to grow more popular this year.
As increased health and environmental consciousness continue to drive consumer preferences and decision-making, it’s just right that businesses, providers and manufacturing technologies adapt accordingly.
Global Flavors and Cuisine
The integration of global flavors into people’s everyday life and restaurant cravings has increased. With people locked in their homes for most of 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic halting mainstream travel, consumers have turned their heads to getting their fix of travel and culture through the food they could recreate and order in the confines of their homes.
Digital Transformation and Automation
Across industries, if there is anything that will drastically accelerate in 2022, that is digital transformation. As it has always been slow and somewhat hesitant in the adoption of new technology solutions, finally the food industry is adapting! Technology and automations are key in the enablement of producers and processors, business owners and service men to optimize workflow, remove production bottlenecks and room for redundancy and error, improve margins and more.
In the near future, we can also expect to see an increase in automation. Food service industry has suffered labor shortages in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, shifting workforce priorities and more. This has caused immense reliance on technology solutions and equipment that helped customers and food business owners continue to meet their goals, but with fewer employees on-site.
Now, almost every food business has a modern POS installed in their on-site stores doing most of the job that used to take up so much time and effort on the employees' part in the past. Technology and automation will be an important factor in the mitigation of human labor shortages and to enhance efficiency and end-products for producers.
Social Media Presence
Today, coffee shops and restaurants need to work on a renewed online presence to stay relevant in the 21st century world of online ordering and content consumption.
Long gone are the days when social media was a space reserved for celebrities and popular personalities. Tiktok rose to popularity from once being a platform for cute dances and 1-minute humor skits, to a platform gaining immense traction for food content. Content can range from average home recipes to Michelin star chefs.
Investing your time and effort on your social media traction can only bring you a bang for your buck, only if you do it the right way.
Balance Between Food Service and Retail
The pandemic has drastically changed consumer behavior and will continue to force the food industry to adjust as demands evolve. At the onset of COVID-19, the food service sector took a sharp plunge and retail shot up because of the decrease in demand for food typically supplied to restaurants, and increased demand for grocery stores. The balance between these two markets is seen to evolve even more this year.
After an unprecedented 2020 and 2021, 2022 is shaping up to be another exciting and unique year for the food and beverage industry, with significant consumer interest and pressure braced for adventure and experience; as well as sustainable industry practices and innovations that reduce waste, save water, and place environmental impact at the foremost importance.
With all that’s happening, it’s important to gear ourselves up with the knowledge of these emerging trends so that we do not get left behind, and we can come up with the best strategies to cope with the ever changing demands and needs of our consumers. Looking forward to an exciting year for our food service business owners!
Edited by Chooli