Whether it be in fashion, electronics, or food – every year has a trend. In 2008 we had ‘small plate dining’ and, by 2010, gourmet burgers were on every menu. Now that we’re over halfway through the year, let’s look back on the restaurant and dining trends that have already emerged and the ones yet to come.
Plant based dishes
Since the emergence of the flexitarian diet trend in 2009, the number of omnivores snubbing meat has risen. Flexitarians are a sort of flexible vegetarian that doesn’t always avoid eating meat and more restaurants are including plant-based dishes to accommodate them.
Although following a vegetarian or vegan diet is difficult to describe as a trend, the act of omnivores joining in on ‘meat-free’ Mondays has become very popular. These flexitarians enjoy plant-based meals without completely banning the odd steak from their diet.
Many restaurants have included plant-based comfort foods to their menus. Healthy alternatives to favourites such as vegan pizzas and “zoodles” (faux noodles made from vegetables) are coming to a menu near you.
The rise of street food
Although street food is a favourite dining trend among many, it’s about to get a lot bigger. In fact, street food is often the first choice when creating menus for catered events.
The term street food doesn’t just include burgers and sandwiches – the trend is internationally influenced. As the world approaches globalisation, so is our food. Turkish flatbread pizza and Belgian waffles are migrating from their country of origin to our local restaurants.
You may be wondering, ‘how can this be a restaurant trend’? ‘Are we going to eat leftovers from other diners’ plates’? No, in this trend restaurants move towards wasting less ingredients and prepared food. They do this by using leftover ingredients rather than tossing them in the bin and introducing doggy bags.
This trend is led by environmental concerns - statistics show we waste 7 million tonnes of food a year. The restaurants working as infantry soldiers in this culinary offensive include Tienda Roosteria at Shoreditch’s Curtain Hotel. They use leftover ingredients to create Mexican dishes and drinks.
Pret A Manger, one of the UK’s favourite coffee shops, is also on a mission to reduce their waste. They are achieving this by donating all unsold food to homeless shelters and charities. Reducing food waste not only helps the environment but also the less fortunate. Pret has been so successful and committed to this trend that they donate on average 3 million meals each year.
See food? Seafood
Fish and chips has been the country’s dish of choice for many years now, so what makes seafood a trend in 2018? Seafood is turning sustainable. Restaurant goers care a great deal more about their impact on the environment than in previous years.
This widespread concern has urged restaurants to seek out fish raised in sustainable ways to prevent over-fishing our oceans. This year, blue fish, salmon, haddock, and the Hawaiian Poke are rumoured to be the most sought-after seafood.
Breakfast for every meal
Everyone loves breakfast! Who doesn’t want to eat pancakes and omelettes all day? No one - that’s who. And restaurants have picked up on our guilty pleasure – many have now altered their menus to offer an all-day breakfast option.
Following on from our previous point of international food influences, ethnic breakfast food is set to make an appearance on our menus. These new editions include chorizo, potato masala, and Punjabi samosas.
This trend will not only grant us access to eat pancakes all day, but also give us the option to experience new and exciting foreign breakfasts. At least our taste buds can pretend we’re in sunny Mexico when, really, we’re in rainy Whitley Bay.
Does this culinary forecast make your mouth water?
Sustainability seems to be on the menu as restaurants are eager to erase their reputation for being both environmentally and physically unhealthy. The concurrent trends of both waste reduction and plant-based dishes suggest that we are more conscious of how our choices impact not only our health but also the world around us.
The heightened popularity of street food suggests that simple classics are still firm favourites - perhaps it is because they reflect the convenience we enjoy as a society. And the trend of all day breakfast food? That’s obvious, we just love breakfast!
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