7 Top Food Trends in 202218.11.2021
Chicken wings were a food trend that was emerging in late 2020. We predicted that 2021 would see the rise of the chicken wing, rather than the chicken breast. Wings are portable, can be cooked in a small area, and can be sold in large quantities. We were correct, wasn’t it? There were many chicken wing options, and some restaurants experienced shortages. World, what are you going to eat next?
Here are our predictions about which foods, drinks and concepts will be the top trends in 2022.
#1 Interactive food
Everyone wanted to find out where they could buy the dalgona candy from Squid Game after watching the episode. Dalgona, a candy made of sugar and baking soda with shapes like stars and umbrellas, is a Korean candy. If you can cut the shape without breaking the brittle sugar treat, you’re a winner. The popularity of Netflix’s drama is causing Dalgona sales to soar. It’s possible that the industry may try to “gamify”, popular foods by making them more activity-based.
This is something we have seen over the past year. Hot cocoa bombs are a great way to enjoy classic winter beverages, and Jelly Belly continues to make its most disgusting flavors into a marketing opportunity called “Beanboozled,” which is a confectionery-based version of Russian Roulette. These gimmicks transform snacks into memorable moments that every brand wants to capitalize on. We should see more of these gimmicks soon.
#2 Celebrity collaborations in fast food
First, there was the Travis Scott meal at McDonald’s (sicko not included), then J Balvin followed by BTS and finally Sawetie. Megan Thee Stallion recently introduced her “hottie” sauce at Popeyes. Celebrity collaborations can be a lucrative business opportunity for both the restaurant chain as well as the celebrity. These meals are attractive because you can eat like celebrities.
The most notable thing about celebrity meals is the personalizations they make. These are often not available on the regular menu. The Travis Scott meal featured ketchup being swapped for barbecue sauce. BTS was able to add Sweet Chili and Cajun dip sauces, which were not available in the US. It’s not a question of whether celebrity collaborations will continue in 2022. The real question is who will be next?
#3 Drink more non-alcoholic cocktails
Non-alcoholic cocktails show no signs of slowing. Non-alcoholic cocktails are gaining popularity, both in bars that are booze-free and those that are not. It could be because people are more aware of how much alcohol they consume, or perhaps it is because of the heavy pandemic drinking habits. But, expect to see more non-alcoholic beverages on the shelves.
These are not sodas or juices. These complex ingredients can be used to make drinks that you enjoy after a long day or for special occasions. These non-alcoholic cocktails are delicious and growing in popularity.
#4 Foods that are environmentally friendly
Climate issues are increasing and so is the importance of how we produce and view our food. Although meatless products are gaining popularity (it seems like 2021 is the year of plant-based poultry), a few companies have been working on cell-cultured seafood and meat. Because meat production is extremely environmentally-taxing in many ways, it’s likely that we will see more of these alternatives products for sale in coming years, as technology improves and production scales increase.
It’s not only meat. Coffee and chocolate are two examples of crops that have a high environmental impact. Beanless coffee is being sold already, so any tax on the environment is open to innovation. These considerations will pay off in the next year and possibly for many decades.
#5 Cottage foods
Cottagecore should not to be confused with “cottage food”. The term “cottage foods”, however, refers to homemade foods such as pickles, jams and cookies that have been registered with the government and are available for sale. (Think farmers’ market vendors.) We saw many home bakers and home cooks launch at-home businesses via Instagram during the peak of the pandemic.
If the past year is any indication, independent businesses will be launched by more skilled bakers and cooks in 2022. They will take advantage of the creativity and flexibility that their own kitchens offer.
#6 Filipino flavors
Bettina Makalintal wrote late last year that New York City was experiencing a “Filipino pop up renaissance.” We’ve seen Filipino flavours everywhere we look. We are sipping lattes made with ube (the delicious Filipino purple yam). We’re enjoying cheese ice-cream and macaroni, which reminds us of Filipino keso. Filipino sweets can be rich and earthy. However, their savory counterparts can be bright and garlicky and satisfying. If you are lucky, Filipino food will continue to rise well beyond 2022.
#7 Robotic and digital dining
Due to staff shortages and a desire to decrease in-person human interaction (aka Germ Spreading), food delivery and grocery stores turned to robots throughout 2021. AIs were our baristas and servers. One tiny bot even brought beer to our table whenever we called it. It seems that both our inability to be face-to-face and the staffing crisis are still going strong into 2022. Technology is also improving.
In addition to physical robots being used in more restaurants, we will likely see more contactless ordering innovations such as QR codes, specialty apps and food lockers in grocery stores and restaurants. We can watch how these already common practices will become more personal and warm in 2022 as customers and diners search for the pre-pandemic personal interaction.