CHICAGO — Heading into 2017, many are wondering what’s on the horizon for the Canadian foodservice industry? Technomic forecasted the top five food and restaurant trends to try this year.
Commercial and noncommercial foodservice operators faced a variety of challenges in 2016 and as the definition of health evolves in the Canadian market, customers are looking for cutting-edge menu items and emerging restaurants that satisfy the palate and balance unique and familiar flavours.
“Canadian consumers want creative, innovative menu items and we see both restaurant and noncommercial foodservice operators stepping up to the challenge,” said Erik Thoresen, principal at Technomic.
Technomic’s Canadian Trends Forecast:
Ethnic sparks menu creativity: Mainstream cuisines such as Chinese and Mexican are making way for more intriguing global fare. Newcomers from across the globe will bring exotic recipes and ingredients, spurring fresh inspiration for chefs. Looking at 2017, specialties like Filipino pancit (noodles) and sinigang (soup), Pakistani roadside bun kebabs and Iranian gheimeh (stew) will flourish in Canada’s food landscape.
Plant-based comfort foods: Veggies are moving to the centre of the plate as people choose the avoid meat on more occasions, with some going vegetarian or vegan. These dining and diet trends, combined with environmental concerns, are fueling growth of plant-based restaurants. Plant-based comfort food such as pizzas, burgers and burritos will drive the trend in 2017.
Super special sweets: Dessert-focused concepts remain hot — a trend driven by restaurants devoted to refining classic dishes such as decorated soft-serve cones, decadent doughnuts and artisan ice cream. Specialty flavours, indulgent topping and eye-catching preparations will continue to generate excitement. Expect to see more ethnic specialties such as Mexican paletas, Taiwanese shaved ice cream and Japanese cheesecake begin to move from innovative independents to chains and retailers.
Creative caffeinating: While the third-wave movement continues to push coffee to its premium extremes, boundary breakers will take coffee in unexpected directions to stand out in a crowding field. On the radar: lemon coffees, coffee jelly, Indonesian avocado espressos, coffee plus butter or salt (or both), and intricate and customizable latte foam art.
Engaging with Gen Z: Operators will pay closer attention to Gen Z — the maturing cohort of ethnically diverse digital natives accustomed to constant convenience, social sharing and a fast-changing world. Look for more ethnic mash-up foods, desserts and drinks worthy of Instagram, emoji speak on the menu, chatbots, Snapchat filters, packaging hacks and a greater emphasis on corporate responsibility and environmental stewardship.