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Your ultimate guide to the new flavours of 2022

Food and drink | 25 November 2021 | Catherine Hinchcliff

Cinnamon, turmeric, soy, apple, salmon, seaweed, yuzu, citrus, blueberry, purple yam and tiger’s milk…

The flavours that will shape menus in 2022 bring an alluring range of contrasts: far flung and familiar, healthy and decadent, exotic and earthy.

We’ve partnered with CGA, who have not only conducted some exclusive consumer research for us, but have also worked with food influencers and a futurist to explore the hottest trends for the out of home sector.

In this blog, I’ll share with you the 5 key trends and why they’re the ones to watch over the next year and beyond:

 

 

Flavours Less Travelled

So, what cuisines will be trending in 2022?

If you pan back from the ingredients I’ve mentioned, many of which feature in our Flavours Less Travelled trend, you’ll see some exciting cuisines emerging, such as Peruvian, Filipino, Pacific Rim, Burmese and Scandinavian.

The cuisines that are gaining traction tend to be a little off the beaten track. They’re inspired by the pent up spirit of adventure building up in many of us who have not been able to satisfy our urge to travel over the last two years.

Consumers are keen to discover new flavours. In fact, our own research tells us that 6 out of 10 like trying venues that offer new and interesting cuisines, and over half (53%) say that if they see a new cuisine on a menu they haven’t tried before, they’re likely to choose it.

Yes, some of these cuisines are a little niche, but there are Peruvian, Filipino and Scandinavian restaurants in many major cities across the UK.

These cuisines are certainly ones that are emerging, and because they fit with the other 4 key trends, they are really adaptable for more mainstream menus. In fact, 1 in 4 consumers tell us they’d be keen to try Burmese in a pub!

 

Celebrating British

After the turbulent times we’ve had with the pandemic and the impact of Brexit, consumers are very eager right now to buy British.

They are driven by a desire to support the UK economy and the farmers, producers and communities that are local to them. And, of course there will be a lot of focus on British cuisine when we celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with an extended four-day bank holiday weekend in June next year.

The two subtrends under the Celebrating British trend are quite simply: British Products and British Cuisine.

We’ve seen a rise in the appeal of British products over the past 12 months, with around half of people telling us that using British ingredients is more important to them now than it was last year.

Classic British and regional dishes are coming into their own too, favourites that are close to our hearts, like crumble, jam rolypoly, pie and mash… and never forgetting the great British roast dinner!

 

The Wow Factor

This trend reflects the fact that consumers are seeking new experiences and indulgence after the difficult times we’ve all had. They’re looking for an extra special experience when they eat out.

Our subtrends here are Decadent Desserts and Experiential and Experimental.

Decadent Desserts are fuelled by the rise of fun and exciting dessert parlours – but other venues are replicating these exciting, unique, and instagrammable desserts on menus too.

Plus, 37% of consumers are likely to treat themselves by ordering a dessert. Desserts even outstrip drinking alcohol, ordering starters, or choosing premium venues as treats when it comes to eating out.

Experiential and Experimental: theme-led venues like Sixes, Bounce, Swingers or FlightClub are the only type of big night out venue to increase in popularity since the pandemic. Food halls are also popping up right across the UK, like Escape to Freight Island in Manchester.

Again, they appeal to consumers’ sense of adventure, and this in turn influences their food and drink choices.

They’re looking for new flavours, cuisines and dishes inspired by the playful experience they’re having. Quality is the name of the game here, as 6 in 10 people expect the food served in these type of venues to be as high quality as they would in food-led venues.

 

Health is Wealth

79% of consumers consciously look for healthy options on the menu, so this trend is going from strength to strength, and is far too prominent to ignore.

In fact, almost a quarter of consumers tell us that if there were no healthy options on the menu, they would vote with their feet and go elsewhere!

We’re seeing three main subtrends coming forwards: consumers being Calorie Conscious, Drinking Healthily (with low calorie of alcohol free drinks) and looking for Healthy Kicks, through the many vitamins, mood and energy boosting ingredients that can added to food or drinks.

 

The Greta Effect

As you can guess, this is all about protecting the planet, and environmental consciousness is no new topic.

The COP26 conference in Glasgow has certainly focused minds, and the momentum behind sustainable menus continues to grow and become more of a priority.

Caterers really need to be on the ball as this is no longer a ‘nice to have’ – consumers expect sustainable choices and ethically savvy brands.

Our sub-trends for this area are: Vegan Junk Food, Meat Reduction, Waste Less, Seasonal Favourites, and Blended Meats.

 

If you’re looking for recipes to inspire you

The great thing about food and drink trends is that they keep us on our toes, and give chefs in every sector a real outlet for creativity.

It doesn’t matter who you cater for or what sector you operate in, you can always use trends to adapt your menus to keep them fresh and interesting.

Trends are important because they reflect changes in the choices and decisions consumers are making, influenced by shifting social dynamics and cultural tides. They present opportunities for caterers to differentiate their menus.

 

So, take a look at our Bidfood 2022 Food & Drinks Trends guide if you’d like further inspiration, product and recipe ideas!

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