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The Mintel Foodservice team has identified and analyzed five trends set to hit the mainstream in the U.S. foodservice industry this year, including implications for companies and brands. Intriguing and delighting diners and brands alike, the trends shine a spotlight on how Americans’ ever-evolving tastes and sensibilities are propelling customization, dichotomy, authenticity, and innovation across menus, into restaurant kitchens and onto store shelves like never before.
Paul Pendola, director of foodservice at Mintel, says, “The foodservice industry in 2015 was shaped by the continued blurring of traditional foodservice segments, volatile commodity prices, and the building relationship of technology and food. This year is off to an exciting start with foodservice brands looking to consumers for direction and inspiration more than ever before. In 2016, we’ll see personalization, authenticity, and revolutionary new food and drink concepts shape the industry with diner preferences and perceptions front-and-center. Restaurants and brands must continue to understand what motivates consumers to dine out and how to attract those who plan on spending less in the year ahead.”
Mintel’s US Foodservice Trends 2016
- Unpredictable proteins: A rising number of consumers are turning to high-protein diets, and while the use of alternative protein sources is on the rise, an American classic still holds a prominent place on menus.
- Anywhere and anytime: Consumers are increasingly eating restaurant-quality food outside of “traditional” mealtimes. When delivery isn’t an option, novel foodservice offerings are stepping in to fill the void.
- Messaging over marketing: While some consumers view the majority of food and beverage claims as nothing more than marketing chatter, progressive brands are embracing a fresh modus operandi with meaningful menu terminology to better engage with audiences.
- Extreme living: Brands are recognizing that rather than undecided, consumers are multifaceted, and they increasingly find balance by going to dining extremes.
- New bar stars: The sport of cooking isn’t the only game being played in foodservice, as the same flavor-blending and ethical sensibilities behind the dinner plate are at bat in the glass and cup.