2023 Future Menu Trends report says diners will crave these eight concepts

(Photo by Ralph Notaro/Getty Images for SOBEWFF®)
(Photo by Ralph Notaro/Getty Images for SOBEWFF®) /

Food trends are often a popular, yet highly debated topic. Although food television can bring unusual ingredients and creative cooking techniques onto people’s screens, the reality is that people have to be willing to pick up the fork and take a bite in real life. Recently, Unilever Food Solutions surveyed leading chefs and industry leaders to compile the 2023 Future Menu Trends report and eight concepts were identified. Will these ideas be the flavors people crave?

Over the past couple of years, food trends have gone in varied directions. While some people love the idea of looking back at the past for a taste of nostalgia, others gravitate towards innovation. Although those two concepts may be true, the reality is that there are plenty of additional concepts that fall somewhere in the middle.

According to Hanneke Faber, President of Nutrition Unilever, “Identifying the hottest global trends is critical in our quest to provide solutions for chefs, who are contending with challenges ranging from labour shortages to tackling sustainability issues like food waste. With the release of the Future Menus Trend report, Unilever Food Solutions is not just sharing future trends, but also offering solutions-based insights and adaptable recipes to inspire chefs and help them feel prepared for the future.”

What are eight themes highlighted on the 2023 Future Menu Trends report?

Unilever reports that the eight 2023 Future Menu Trends are “Modern Comfort Food, Irresistible Vegetables, Wild & Pure, Flavor Contrasts, Feel-Good Food, The New Sharing, Mindful Proteins, and Low-Waste Menus.” While these concepts will get some fanfare, the ideas are not necessarily totally new.

Many chefs have touted the need to reduce food waste through thoughtful consumption. Whether it is using an ingredient from root to tip or nose to tail or repurposing leftovers, the reality is that usable food should not be placed in the trash bin.

Looking at some of the other themes, the idea of mindful eating seems to be prominent. Whether that concept is knowing where food comes from or how food impacts the body, people are thinking before they consume. Appreciating the direct connection between food and feeling, it is more than just grabbing that ice cream bowl to wish away the tears. Food can evoke emotion, but it feeds more than just the soul. That appreciation of food and body impact is vital for making balanced eating choices.

As for the other concepts, the ideas are both easily adaptable and approachable for consumers. It does not appear that anyone is asking people to consume alternative proteins or extreme flavors. It is about expanding the confront zone in an approachable way.

When will people start seeing these 2023 Future Menu Trends? People might need to book a table to find out.