Don’t get left behind this summer as new food trends take over menus across the country.
To help you prepare for the warmer months, we have uncovered the top four trends that are expected to leave an impact on your diners. While some trends are already big movers and shakers within the kitchen, twists and changes will impact their positioning on your menu. From simpler burgers to plant-based alternatives and healthy desserts, this summer’s food trends will bring a whole lot of everything and anything to your customers!
Vegan and plant-based meals are set to increase in popularity over the warmer months. According to NPD Group, consumers under 40-years-old have increased their vegetable intake by 52%, along with a 25% increase of vegetarians and a 257% increase of vegans in the last decade.
Currently, in Australia, over two million people now opt for meat-free meals when dining out, raising the importance of restaurants including a range of options on their menu. Vegan degustation menus will be fundamental for venues this summer, with top-end restaurants Otto, Attica and Ezard already offering vegan options that rival their meat varieties to remain in competition.
“It’s a growing population. I think animal-free menus show a chef’s talent or creativity,” executive chef and co-owner of Sydney’s Bentley Restaurant & Bar, Brent Savage told Delicious. With health reasons the main drive towards the rise in popularity of vegan meals, social media has also had an impact.
Facebook and Instagram have helped venues show off their vegan and plant-based offerings by sharing images that show the meals bursting with colouring and fresh local produce – helping eliminate the perception that vegan and plant-based meals are dull and simple. So, as people tend to become more health-focused during summer, the push towards veganism will continue to rise.
The health-craze that continues to gain momentum across the country isn’t restricted just to main meals. As consumers now have their eyes set on the healthy alternative to the old school (and always popular) creamy ice creams. After retail brand Halo Top’s raging success in America, the craze towards low calorie, low sugar, dairy-free ice creams are now becoming just as popular Down Under.
As the brand hits the shelves in supermarkets across the country, consumers are expanding the demand into restaurants, challenging chefs to produce the same tasty treat, with less sugary assets. To meet this need, plant-based soft serve ice creams made with coconut milk are set to take over menus. Ice creams that incorporate ingredients like charcoal, bee pollen and turmeric, as well as honey, avocado and matcha are also set to become popular this summer.
It’s officially time to say goodbye to your bright, colourful creations. This summer, there will be a consumer demand for activated charcoal foods, which simply turns your once beautiful food…black!
Activated charcoal is produced by heating wood or coconut shells to high temperatures until they are completely burnt, which is then treated with hot steam. Many chefs are now incorporating activated charcoal into their dishes to create a unique black colouring.
Chefs are using the ingredient as part of their cupcakes, ice creams, pasta and bread – with some even going as far as to create black lemonade. Despite the smoking procedure and dark colour, the charcoal only adds a slightly smoky flavour to a food, meaning your creations will still have their distinct offerings despite the change in its look.
“Charcoal was an ingredient we started to see emerging in restaurants and food pop-ups last year,” Jonathan Moore, executive chef for Waitrose told The Guardian. “With its earthy, slightly smoky taste and dark colouring, it gives a premium feel to food and makes it a real talking point,” he added.
Parlour Burger in Sydney is home to the Black Widow Burger, whereas Port Melbourne cafe Long Story Short made waves when it added activated charcoal fish and chips to the menu. Brisbane consumers also have been going crazy for the Black Elvis charcoal soft serve at Eat Street’s Double Good.
Burgers – the obvious food trend that has been around for the last year are nowhere to stay. While burgers remain the big thing for restaurants, it seems to be the end for the big, over-loaded burgers that many venues have served up over the last 12 months.
Many Australians are now beginning to opt for easy-to-eat, traditional options when they dine out at burger joints. This summer, the traditional American cheeseburger is set to once again become the crowd favourite – leaving behind the “bigger is better” concept of the burger. With a simple beef patty and cheese and a basic sauce topped with a bun, that’s all you need to ensure you stay on trend.
Conclusion: To keep up with consumer demands this upcoming summer, ensure you cater to the needs, wants and desires of your customers and their tastebuds. Mix and match your menu with a range of offerings, from the healthy or vegan inspired meals to juicy, simple burgers.
Put your personal twist on each of these summer trends and create something simple and delicious. Remember, each trend has a place on your menu, so test them out on your specials board to see how your customers adapt.