Six foodservice trends coming in 2018

October 25 2017

This year has shot by at a staggering rate and as we rapidly approach 2018, minds are already looking to the future and what it could hold for the food and restaurant industry.

As such, food research group Technomic has shared what it thinks will be big in foodservice over the coming year with its annual prediction report.

According to the 2018 Canadian Trends Forecast, one of the major developments shaking up the industry will be the relentless penetration of technology.

Technomic notes that while the tech revolution has already played a large part in shaping where the foodservice industry is headed, it will continue to “create new opportunities for operators to reach their customers in ways they never dreamed of”.

Six clear points make up the 2018 Canadian Trends Forecast, so what are they?

1. Plants

The report highlights how plants are appearing on menus more often, replacing ingredients such as dairy milks, animal meat, noodles and condiments to name a few.

This is down to a rise in healthy eating and dietary preferences as much as concerns over animal welfare and the environment, Technomic states.

As a result, 2018 should see veggie noodles, plant milks and plant-based proteins become an increasingly common fixture on menus.  

2. Anything, anytime

The idea of diners having around-the-clock access to everything on the menu could become the new normal in 2018, the report suggests. It’s been coming for a while, but 2018 may be the year where menu times are finally tossed in the trash.

As such, diners will expect to be able to order a burger for breakfast or a cereal at 2am. This is the result of new technology facilitating on-demand availability, as well as evolving lifestyles.

Diners could take this newfound free rein further by devising - or more, expecting - a greater number of inventive food and drink mashups, and surprising ingredient combos.

3. Waste not…

Every restaurant or food operator - regardless of size - wants to minimise food waste and you can expect this effort to be stepped-up in 2018.

More edible packaging, smaller portion sizes, trayless dining, dishes comprising food scraps or waste, and reduced priced during off-peak hours could all become more widespread over the next 12 months.

4. Indigenous inspirations

Canada’s native cuisines and the foods of the First Nations will enjoy fresh attention in 2018 as chefs devise concepts dedicated to authentic indigenous ingredients and preparations.

This means ingredients such as bannock, Ojibwe wild rice, Oolichan grease, Saskatoon berries, hominy, bison, elk and Muskeg tea will all receive notably more mentions on menus.

5. Entertain me

Canada isn’t the only country to see a drop-off in on-premise dining, and the coming year will see operators do more to encourage customers to dine-in.

Some of the ways they may do that is by introducing free access to nostalgic forms of entertainments, such as arcade games, ping-pong and classic board games.

Incorporate these fun elements to the usual quality food, creative cocktails and attentive service and fun-loving customers will stick around longer and likely spend bigger.

6. Delivery and convenience

The rise of app-based on-demand food delivery services such as Foodora and Uber Eats mean that delivery is now considered to be an industry standard, regardless of a restaurant’s size and type.

Technomic warns that by entering the delivery business, operators are also pitting themselves against new competition, namely the meal-kit market, where ingredients are delivered to consumers ready to cook into a delicious and convenient meal.

To stave off any disruption to their business, operators will need to perfect their delivery process quickly, maintaining the temperature and quality of their food and level of service.

Erik Thoresen, principal at Technomic, concluded the report by saying: “Third-party delivery has brought Canadian operators to the tech forefront.

“Despite hurdles around fees and deliverability of certain menu items, these platforms have opened up new marketing channels for operators and increased their ability to compete within a broader trading area.”

Photo: margouillatphotos/iStock