NRN Interactive Industry Update - Summer 2023

Continued: 10 food trends to watch

Pretzels These twisted baked goods were available from many companies this year. One exhibitor said Bavarian pretzels, which are darker in color and have more complex flavor than many other varieties, are particularly trendy this year.

ready-to-heat soups and stews, and pre-made freezer-to-fryer empanadas were among the easy-to-use items available for restaurants finding it difficult to stay fully staffed. New plant-based options The show floor had a lot of plant-based substitutes, of course, but the options are moving beyond the pea protein of big brands such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat and traditional meatless center-of-the-plate items such as tofu and tempeh to include things like fish analogs made out of konjac root and rolled into sushi. Mushrooms Mushrooms are fungus, not plants, but they are low in calories, full of micronutrients and, although not actually high in protein, nonetheless have a lot of umami flavor and meaty textures that make them hearty meat substitutes, especially since most Americans eat more protein than they need anyway.

Premium meat There were several

displays of American and Japanese wagyu beef, the highly marbled Japanese

cattle breed that sells for a premium price, as well as imported and domestic Iberico pork (the latter is being raised in Texas), and other high-end options such as premium Prime rib.

West African Food A nascent cuisine that is slowly gaining

Truffles Meatless and

momentum is items from West Africa, and several stews from the region were on display at the show.

luxurious, truffles are becoming increasingly commonplace at the show, with multiple displays of truffle oil, truffle hot sauce and truffle-studded cheese, among other items.

Seaweed This nutritious food, increasingly being called “sea vegetables,” although it’s technically algae, is becoming more popular in part because it is not merely sustainable, but restorative, sequestering carbon and helping to purify the water in which it grows. And since it comes from seawater, no fresh water is required to grow it.

Pickles Consumers are increasingly looking for more pronounced flavors, and younger generations in particular gravitate toward sour items, so it is perhaps no surprise that more pickles were available for sampling at the show. Other plants being plants Rather than being offered up as meat analogs, many exhibitors are offering plants in fairly pure form, such as tahini, green chickpeas, smoked basmati rice, vegetables packed in oil, and more.

Labor saving foods Pre-cut miniature desserts, par-baked bread,


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