Supply chain problems brought on by the pandemic are forcing many restaurants and chefs to change their menus on the fly and get creative with the ingredients they are able to get.
2022 is pushing various changes to menus to accommodate rising food costs and place an emphasis on local ingredients that are more available.
"2022 dining menus will see a streamlined, localized approach that will keep in line with what is locally fresh and readily available, forcing chefs to innovate their menus with ingredients and products already on hand due to the current state of industry hurdles," says RJ Cooper, owner, and chef of restaurant Saint Stephen in Nashville.
One of the biggest beverage trends over the last year has been alcohol-free ones. Sober-curious consumers are driving a demand for sophisticated beverages, and this trend is expected to continue its massive growth in the new year.
Whole Foods, the Speciality Food Association, as well as many other companies are all including alcohol-free beverages within their 2022 trend predictions.
"The low- and no-alcohol trend is booming, and one new area within it is dealcoholized wine," said Kara Nielsen, a member of the Specialty Food Association's Trendspotter Panel.
Chefs surveyed by Food & Wine mentioned a growing popularity of zero-proof cocktails with flavor profiles that are able to hold their own against alcoholic drinks.
"These new drinks are no longer simply a mix of fruit juices but feature an elevated eye appeal with fresh, seasonal ingredients," said Fernando Soberanis, executive chef of Laurel Brasserie & Bar in Salt Lake City, Utah.
This continuous popularity of alcohol-free drinks might even start a new type of drinking occasion. Pinterest is saying: "afternoon tea will be the new happy hour" in their trend report.
A bigger focus on the environment:
Another trend that will continue growing in 2022 is minimizing damage to the environment by placing a bigger focus on food sourcing, food quality, packaging, and business practices.
Many experts are expecting continued growth for plant-based foods, and amongst the 350 professional chefs surveyed, plant-based foods were the second-hottest trend in 2022, coming in right behind sustainability.
Sustainable packaging ranked as the highest trend for 2022, which means many restaurants will be making an effort to offer recyclable or reusable packaging in the coming year as consumers continue to rely on off-premises dining.