Technomic identifies restaurant trends, brighter year for 2023

Optimism in recovery boosted by economic predictions, despite unionizing; fermenting + pickling, nourishing pink ingredients, grain products to shine

With ongoing, yet easing inflation, and the recession looming, the economic environment won’t be easy as we start 2023. However, restaurants will have a much friendlier environment as the year progresses, according to foodservice consultancy Technomic. For now, it is a mixed bag. Workers will continue to organize, demanding better wages and improved working conditions. Meanwhile, fermentation, pink ingredients and grain products will be stars on the menu. These are just some of the predictions in Technomic’s latest whitepaper, “What We Foresee for 2023.”

Economic conditions have been sour for the restaurant industry, with inflation at a 40-year high. What’s more, recent interest hikes have put a damper on investment, too. However, there is reason for hope, suggests Technomic, as inflation eases and the cost of groceries makes dining more appealing. In fact, “years of social distancing and restrictions have created pent-up demand for an experience,” according to “What We Foresee.”

“The industry is expected to face some stumbling blocks going into 2023, led by weakened consumer sentiment and ongoing pricing difficulties,” says Joe Pawlak, managing principal within Technomic’s Advisory group. “But as the year progresses, the situation is expected to moderate and the industry will benefit with stronger sales and traffic.”

With the help of unions, employees are organizing and getting a seat at the table, so to speak. Workers uniting will continue next year, notes Technomic. Workers “will feel emboldened,” it suggests, due to a designation as essential workers during the Pandemic and a shortage of staffing. New baselines for employee hourly pay will be established, and may be as high as $22 in California.

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Pickling and fermenting will continue to be a thing. This is “everything from proteins and french fries to herbs and nuts, while pickled ingredients, themselves, will top unexpected dishes. These preparations will continue to be popular and offer health benefits that may extend beyond the gut.” The set of players—kimchi, kombucha, miso, and sauerkraut, for example—is expanding. More specific processes, such as lacto-fermentation, will give consumers increased transparency.

In Technomic’s “Pink on the Brink” trend, pink is in and very Instagrammable. Beyond bubblegum flavors,
funfetti and new maraschino infusions, the industry will see, in particular, nourishing pink ingredients like strawberry puree and dragon fruit to continue to grow on menus. Moreover, expect to see more ingredients increase penetration. “Pink variations on classics, including pineapple, salt, celery and peas, will thrive alongside pink-hued schisandra berries, cara cara oranges and hibiscus-steeped bissap.”

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Technomic identified additional trends for 2023:

  • On-premises bouncing back
  • Blurred LSR lines
  • Going toward the grain

Navigate to the “What We Foresee in 2023” whitepaper here.

To learn more about the publisher of this restaurant news site, navigate here.

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