Every industry sees new products and new consumer trends each year — the food and beverage industry is no exception. While COVID-19 initiated many of the current trends, some are simply consumer preferences and social initiatives. We've put together our top picks for the food and drink trends you should look for in 2022 if you work or plan to work in the food and beverage industry.
You've likely heard of almond milk, oat milk, and cashew milk, but have you heard of potato milk? This non-dairy, healthy alternative to traditional cow's milk is becoming increasingly popular in the United States. Made from potato tubers, this vegan "milk" has the consistency of cow's milk and can be used on cereal, in your coffee, or even as a beverage.
Currently, potato milk is only commercially produced by a company in Sweden and is relatively difficult to source in the United States. However, this product is still developing a cult-like following. Crafty and "au courant" chefs can easily produce this product in their own kitchens using potatoes, salt, sugar (or other sweetener), a few almonds, and vanilla extract. If you work in the food and beverage industry and plan to introduce this product, remember to notify your customers that this product contains almonds.
Pre-blended bottled cocktails are another growing food trend. Ready-made\bottled cocktails are available in everything from trendy drinks, like an espresso martini, to classics, like an old fashioned . Bartenders simply pour the cocktail, shake it with ice, and garnish it with the appropriate fruit. Unlike canned cocktails that you find in the grocery store, bottled cocktails don't carry any residual metallic taste from the packaging. Bottled cocktails are a great way for a small restaurant or bar to beef up its cocktail menu without having to hire an expert mixologist.
Approximately 43 percent of Americans of drinking age don't drink alcohol. Some cite health concerns, while others say they want to save money. Some just want to take a break from hangovers. However, just because people are drinking less doesn't mean that they don't enjoy socializing and the pizzazz of a good cocktail. That's where "mocktails" come in. Mocktails are beverages that resemble cocktails with alcohol, only leave the alcohol out of the recipe. Most mocktail recipes are made with fruit juice, but they can be made with anything non-alcoholic, including iced tea and soft drinks.
Another one of our favorite food trends is the growing popularity of sunflower seeds. Culinary experts enjoy the nutty taste of sunflower seeds, the added texture, and the additional health benefits it provides. According to WebMD, sunflower seeds help reduce your chances of developing chronic conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure. They also help reduce chronic inflammation and boost immunity. What's not to love?
Another growing trend we’re seeing surrounds consumer concern, desire, and dedication to protect the environment and reduce our carbon footprint.. In fact, consumers are increasingly factoring in a business' green initiatives when deciding what restaurant to patronize. In the food industry, zero waste means using all parts of an ingredient, such as beet greens and pork fat. It also means finding a place to donate any excess food that can't be re-purposed or is left over at the end of a shift. The principles of zero waste also include recycling and making sure that all plastic, metal, and cardboard are sent to the recycling center, not the local landfill.
Online grocery shopping
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a proliferation of online grocery shopping, and this trend is poised to continue into 2022. Not only do you avoid the crowded stores by shopping online, but you can often get ingredients that your local stores don't carry, especially if you live in a smaller town or rural area. Major grocery chains offer the option to shop online and receive your groceries at home or through curbside pickup. In addition, a plethora of specialty food retailers offer subscription services, offering everything from seafood to misfit vegetables. This online food sourcing is not just for consumers. Chefs and restaurant owners can take advantage of the many options offered online to expand their menus.
Immune system boosting food and drinks
As a result of the pandemic, consumers are prioritizing foods and drinks to help boost their immune systems. Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, red bell peppers, broccoli, green tea, garlic, ginger, papaya, and shellfish, as well as sunflower seeds and turmeric are excellent choices for your immune system. Savvy chefs and restaurateurs are creating dishes around these ingredients and promoting their immunity-boosting menus. Look for this trend to continue well into 2022, since the pandemic shows little sign of abating anytime soon.
Turmeric, one of the foods that help boost the immune system, is another ingredient that's trending into 2022. Tumeric, a major ingredient in most curries and native to Asia and Central America, isn’t limited to Latin America or Southeast Asian food, though. This spice can be used to make tea, in soups, in salad dressings, and in smoothies. It can even be used as part of a rub for ribs or other meat. Its distinctive orange color also adds interest to otherwise bland-colored dishes. The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has been a staple in traditional Indian medicine for centuries. Properties of curcumin include helping ease inflammation, relieving chronic pain, aiding in digestion, and improving liver function.
Earning your food and beverage degree with Johnson and Wales University
JWU offers multiple online degree programs for people interested in a career in the food and beverage industry, including bachelor’s degrees in food and beverage entrepreneurship, baking and pastry arts, and culinary arts and food service management, as well as a master’s degree in international beverage management. Most of these four- and two-year degree programs can be completed entirely online.