10 food and coffee trends for 2022

Tuesday, 25 January, 2022

It’s a new year, which means it’s time to think about new approaches to your café or restaurant menu. Instead of coming up with ideas out of thin air, it’s helpful to look at what trends are permeating the foodservice industry to keep your offering in line with what consumers expect. Let’s dive into the top 10 food and coffee trends to watch in 2022.

Two people enjoying food and coffee at café

1. Eating as an experience

Increasingly, eating out has become just as much about the whole experience rather than just the food itself. This is why, according to research from Datassential, options like Korean BBQ, raclette, hot pot and hibachi are enjoying year-on-year growth.

Consider how you can make your service more experiential. For example, customer-facing kitchens can tap into a customer’s desire to see food prepared and follow the process until it reaches their plate. Or you could perhaps introduce or expand share plates in your menu to provide a more communal eating experience.

You could also try building a story around the ingredients you use or altering the presentation of your service to create something more novel and memorable. Make sure that any new experiences you create are pushed on your social media channels for all to see.

If you choose to alter or expand your menu, consider our simple menu design tips.

Group eating Korean grilled dishes

2. New plant-based alternatives

If you’ve been following our articles over the last year, then you’ll already know that plant-based eating is here to say, and according to Nielsen data, the market size is set to increase into 2022. No longer just a niche alternative for vegans and vegetarians, plant-based menu options are now a staple in restaurants and, interestingly, fast-food chains worldwide.

The increasingly broad appeal of plant-based alternatives, particularly plant-based meat substitutes, is accelerating the development of new products. At Nestlé, we’ve taken the success of our plant-based Harvest Gourmet Sensational Burger and expanded our range to include Harvest Gourmet Sensational Mince and Harvest Gourmet Chargrilled Pieces which mimic chicken fillet.

With more plant-based meat alternatives being added to the Harvest Gourmet range, it’s never been easier for you to make a simple switch and serve plant-based versions of the dishes your customers love.

If you’re looking for a way to pivot your offering to cater to emerging food trends, experimenting with and adding plant-based dishes to your menu is the obvious choice. See our article on plant-based food swaps to see how easy it is to create plant-based versions of your top dishes.

Plant-based chicken made from soy on pan

3. Specialty blends

In our article on single-origin coffee vs blends, we talked about how coffee aficionados prefer single-origin coffee for its purity. In contrast, blends are more cost-efficient and accessible to your average coffee drinker. Going into 2022, these attitudes are starting to shift, and several blends are being appreciated on the same level as single-origin by speciality coffee lovers.

Take some time to look at what new specialty blends are available and see if you can incorporate them into your café menu. Check out our range of wholesale coffee beans.

Brewer holding scoop with coffee beans

4. All-inclusive menus

With more food and beverage choices than ever before, diners expect to be able to get what they want when they want it. To minimise the loss of customers to other establishments, chefs are designing menu items that have broad appeal and can be easily customised to meet different consumer preferences or requirements.

For example, the rise of flexitarians has prompted the creation of menu items where animal proteins can be easily swapped for meat-free alternatives. The Harvest Gourmet range makes it easy for chefs to swap out meat in their dishes for a plant-based alternative that tastes as good (if not better) than the real thing.

These all-inclusive menus don’t just offer more choices; they are better at communicating important information to customers. Where once the term ‘gluten-free’ might be used in the description of a dish, a small (GF) symbol can be used next to menu options to communicate the same information at a glance.

Find out more about how to cater to gluten free diners.

Happy couple ordering food together from menu at restaurant

5. Cautious consumers

A consequence of the pandemic is that many consumers are more apprehensive about eating out and are ‘cocooning’ instead. According to Merriam-Webster, cocooning is “the practice of spending leisure time at home in preference to going out.”

However, the rise of food delivery platforms like UberEATS during the pandemic lets us know consumers are willing to pay for the experience of “eating out but dining in”. Therefore, take steps to ensure that your café or restaurant’s delivery offering is top-notch and provides a comparable experience to dining at your venue (including ensuring your packaging maintains food and beverage quality as it travels).

Also, consider making memorable takeaway and delivery experiences that elevate your offering for consumers who prefer to stay at home. For example, you could sell DIY kits that allow your customers to finish cooking the dish and add their own touches at home.

Young couple on couch preparing to eat delivery order

Take some inspiration from Caramel Waffly in Sydney which offers DIY boxes that provide a fun and immersive waffle-making experience at home.

For the consumers who choose to leave home and dine at your establishment, make sure they feel safe and secure by having clear protocols around hygiene and sanitisation. Also, think about whether you can pivot towards alfresco dining to give customers peace of mind who prefer not to dine in an enclosed space.

Caramel Waffly Instagram

6. Cold coffee

We’ve been in love with cold brew coffee for a while now, and so have coffee drinkers, not just in Australia but around the world! According to Statista, the global market value of cold-brew coffee is forecasted to reach almost $1 billion USD by 2025.

Leading the pack is nitro cold-brew, which is cold-brew coffee infused with nitrogen to create a creamy foam top layer, not unlike a foamy beer from the pub. The infusion of nitrogen doesn’t just make for a novel appearance; it creates a velvety smooth and naturally sweeter profile without needing to add sugar or artificial sweetener.

Serving cold brew in your cafe is easier than you might think. The NESCAFÉ Nitro Cold Brew Coffee System is a compact device that allows you to serve nitrogen-infused cold-brew on-demand, right from your countertop (and without the need to install a cumbersome and expensive nitrogen tank in your café).

Milk being poured into glass of cold brew coffee

7. The rise of Gen Z

Generation Z, also known as “Zoomers”, are the new demographic to watch out for, and according to the Analyse Australia report by social research agency McCrindle, they make up at least 20% of the population. Born after 1997 and at least 67 million strong, this demographic is ethnically diverse, tech-savvy, and highly educated.

The influence of Gen Z as consumers will only increase in the years to come. To cater to this rising demographic, ensure you’re leveraging the latest technology trends like QR code menus and touchless payment systems which digital natives like Gen Z are more comfortable using.

Gen Z is also characterised by their strong opinions and deeply held convictions around social issues and the environment. Show that your café or restaurant is taking measures to improve sustainability, minimise waste, and cater to those wishing to reduce their meat consumption and those with special dietary requirements.

Group of young people taking selfie in restaurant

8. Going digital

It’s not just Gen Z that’s habitually using smartphones to engage with cafés and restaurants, and the pandemic has had a lot to do with this increased shift towards digital amongst consumers. Because of this, it’s never been more important to have a properly set-up digital presence that makes it easier for customers to find you online (making sure you’re optimised for Google Search, Google Maps, social media etc.)

Also, consider which delivery aggregator(s) you are partnered with and whether they’re the best option for your staff and customers. Check out our delivery and takeaway tips for foodservice businesses and our article on the state of food delivery platforms for helpful information on using delivery partners with your business.

Happy café owner using laptop behind counter

9. Sustainably sourced coffee

Of course, promoting sustainability and eliminating unsustainable coffee harvesting practices will continue to be a focal point for the global coffee industry going into 2022. As discussed in our article on the importance of sourcing sustainable coffee beans, consumers are increasingly concerned with where their coffee comes from and the sustainability of the beans used to roast their cup of joe.

Nestlé is committed to the Nescafé Plan, which aims to ensure we have 100% sustainably sourced coffee by 2025. We’ve already ensured that our NESCAFÉ BLEND 43 coffee beans are certified 100% sustainable thanks to 4C certification.

You can read more about the Nescafé Plan and our progress here.

Hands holding young coffee tree for planting

10. Sustainability and waste reduction

Reducing waste and emissions will continue to be critical focus areas for the foodservice industry throughout 2022 and beyond. There’s no doubt that these issues are important to your customers. According to Google’s qualitative consumer insights, 82% of consumers confirm that sustainability is more top of mind than before the pandemic.

Increasing adoption of practices like using biodegradable takeaway packaging and composting in foodservice are signs that the foodservice industry is heading in the right direction.

Draw attention to your sustainability and recycling/waste management practices so that consumers are aware of your efforts. Be sincere and avoid making vague pledges that seem like you’re greenwashing rather than trying to make a positive impact.

Burger, chips and coffee in biodegradable eco takeaway packaging

Consider switching to products that help tell your sustainability story. For example, our MAGGI Professional 7-8kg plastic packs have just undergone a new redesign that saves 30 tonnes of virgin plastic every year.

Sustainability remains a key commitment for Nestlé. In 2022, you can expect further sustainability initiatives and advice from Nestlé for reducing waste in your business.

Download the Planetpro Magazine to learn about sustainable practices you can implement in your business today and explore the articles on our Sustainability Hub.

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