While there are numerous factors driving current food trends, it may come as little surprise that sustainability comes out as the biggest influence on predicted consumer behaviour for the year ahead. Read on to discover some of the most relevant trends in the food industry as we move into 2023...

1. Nostalgic vibes

Perhaps driven by the stress of the cost of living crisis, notes of comforting nostalgia will thread through the food scene in 2023 — but with added leeway for chefs and manufacturers to incorporate a modern twist. Think revamped retro classics, like a milkshake made with kefir for a boost of probiotic goodness.

2. International flavours, local sourcing

Global influences will continue, with Cuban, Sri Lankan and ‘Pan-African’ cuisines cited by Bidfood as amongst those on the rise. The same study suggested that unusual fusions are also of interest, with 40% of respondents willing to taste unique combinations of different cuisines. However, the trend towards local and regional product sourcing will continue, seeing new twists on far-flung flavours created using ingredients from closer to home.

3. Knowledge is power

When it comes to the foods they choose, consumers are seeking more information than ever before. The new year will see increased demand for transparency on food labels, from government-mandated details around allergens and calories to environmental information on carbon footprints, water use and ingredient sourcing. More and more, people want to know where their food comes from, empowering them to make informed choices and control their environmental impact. Whole Foods predicts that a growing number of food and beverage brands will work to limit their impact on the environment in 2023, communicating this to consumers on packaging as well as online. 

4. Plant-based is best

The quest for sustainability continues to drive a demand for plant-based meals, new meat alternatives and clever sources of protein. Many consumers still desire plant-based creations that taste, look and feel like meat, and are also showing interest in sustainable, affordable and better-quality seafood alternatives. However, the traditional attitude that it’s the meat that makes a meal is officially outdated: vegetables, fruits and legumes are stepping into the spotlight.

An enormous 59% of people still feel that vegetarian options in restaurants are limited — offering a real opportunity for restaurants to up their game and incorporate a wider array of clever, creative plant-based dishes on their menus.

5. Found and foraged

Foraged ingredients are piquing interest, with research suggesting that consumers respond well to the personal touch of knowing the foods on their plates were hand-picked. This is influenced by increased awareness around the environmental impact of mass food production, plastic packaging and chemical fertilisers. A considerable 53% of UK adults would like to see more foraged foods on menus, with familiar items like wild garlic and blackberries of particular interest.

6. Super seaweed

Both sustainable and highly nutritious, seaweed’s virtues have earned it a seat at the top table for 2023. Seaweed filters excess nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen from the water, tackling problems posed by agriculture and sewage facilities, while the ocean’s vast kelp forests play an important role in trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Expect to see more seaweed popping up across both foodservice and retail, whether it's gracing menus in salads, pasta dishes or rice bowls, or being transformed into convenience foods such as crisps. 

7. Zero waste for the win

Minimising waste is one of the biggest trends for 2023. Savvy chefs will be busy creating menus designed to use every part, relying on smart kitchen skills like fermenting, preserving and composting to work towards zero waste. Have your compostable takeaway packaging to hand: 2023’s waste-conscious customers will be taking home any food they can’t finish. 

Whether it’s accurate and reliable calorie and allergen labelling or fully automated carbon footprint reporting, our world-class data systems are at your disposal. Book a free demo to find out how Nutritics can inform and empower your customers.