From swicy flavours, mushrooms and the “little black dress” of sustainable food to the humble curry or chicken sandwich… How will food make us feel good in 2023?
- TikTok & Tuna
Social media influences much of what we do. More than food influencers sharing recipes, however, nowadays TikTok is setting food trends! Noticed a wider choice in tinned fish, canned and preserved food on the shelves and more recipes calling for pilchards, mackerel and tuna? TikTok has made this traditional pantry staple popular – do search “Hot Girl Food” or #tinnedfishdatenight (Click here) . You can even prepare a seacuterie board! And talking about boards. TikTok has also introduced us to the buttered board where butter serves as the base of charcuterie boards.
- Alternatives & Alcohol
Alternatives that are healthier and more sustainable are still a leading trend. Carbs come with plant-based and gluten-free versions, sugar is often replaced with healthier options and no-lo drinks seem to be here to stay. Mocktail bars can be found everywhere and while alcohol-free beer, gin and tequila have become regulars, 2023 might be the year to watch the non-alcoholic wine category grow. (Read more)
- Sweet + Spicy = Swicy
While the combination of sweet and savoury is familiar to South Africans, sweet and spicy flavours are typical to Asian recipes. These swicy (sweet + spicy) flavours extend to chilli dark chocolate, hot honey, miso caramel, etc. Kimchi and Asian curries also drive the Asian influence.
- Sustainable, but flavourful
Nowadays, no trend talk is complete without listing sustainability. I love Molly Yeh’s description of black beans as the “little black dress” of sustainable food – being high in protein and very environmentally friendly. There’s a smaller demand for faux meat, but alternatives to meat such as mushrooms are increasing in popularity. Other than the familiar varieties, speciality categories like Oyster mushrooms are reported to grow. Even Pet Food is going organic.
Despite the importance of sustainability, in the world of food, flavour stays the number one consideration. Toppings, spreads and seasonings like Yuzu, hot honey, Ube and versions of Sriracha add texture and flavour to recipes. Curries – its sides and vegetarian versions – are set to trend in the coming year, not only because of flavour, but also economics.
- Mood Food
More than nostalgic recipes from grandma, mood food can also mean your dish is marijuana-infused! But who can resist the charm of freshly-baked bread or classics such as the Harvey Wallbanger or Salty Dog cocktails? (I do prefer these old-fashioned drinks to the 2022 cocktails infused with clam juice or kelp…).
Another sentimental come-back is gelatine! Remember wiggly salads? And then there will be healthier versions of old-fashioned snacks such as one of my favourites, Rice Krispie treats. (I still need to be convinced that you can beat the original…)
And what can be better for your mood (and even your pocket) than a proper chicken sandwich? Chicken sandwiches, specifically those with fried meat and swicy (spicy and sweet-heat) flavours, are set to be second on the American National Restaurant Association’s list of the top 10 trends for 2023.
- Dining Out
Restaurants have been adjusting and recovering from Covid, but then inflation hit and entertaining at home is therefore still popular. For those less worried about the economy of eating out, another alternative is on the table: expensive and exclusive Dining Clubs!
Unique food experiences rather than traditional restaurant menus, bring excitement to the dining scene – even if you have no date – solo dining is still a thing.
Artificial intelligence in restaurant management is also a new trend, especially when it comes to calculating quantities, predicting figures and dealing with administration such as phone calls.
Menu wise, restaurants echo food trends:
- More versatile and creative when it comes to vegetarian meals.
- Comfort food and charcuterie boards also make their way to the restaurant space.
- Zero waste and sustainability stay top priority.
- Global inspiration can be found on most menus.
Wishing you a wonderful New Year with all that’s delicious on your plate and in your glass!