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Exciting Food & Dining Trends 2019

Exciting Food & Dining Trends 2019

Exciting_Food and Dining Trends

Upcoming Restaurant Trends

Fine Dining Take-Out

Consumers tastes are becoming more sophisticated, and today’s diner wants to have a wider variety of choice available to them when they’re ordering from your menu. They want to experience new foods and flavours, and the types of cuisine that would once only be available in-house.

The total spending in the takeaway industry is expected to grow to £11.2 billion by 2021 in the UK alone.
Source: Just Eat

This change in eating is reflected in the ready-meal industry, with supermarkets offering a huge variety of ready to eat meals – where once choice was limited to simple meals such as pizza, macaroni cheese and cottage pie, there are now ranges of meals that embrace more unusual ingredients or higher quality dishes such as parsnip mash, sweet potato burgers, beef wellington, katsu curry and paella.

Instead of pizzas and burgers, customers are looking for quality homemade food, and in 2019 we’ll see a rise in demand for casual fine-dining take-aways.

Food as Medicine

As well as looking for foods that offer low sugar, low fat or low carbs, diners now have an increased awareness in how food can maintain health, prevent diseases and improve bodily functions. We’re seeing a rise in marketing messages extol the virtues of certain foods as natural remedies for inflammation, digestive issues, fatigue and depression, to name a few.

This awareness is bringing a shift towards innovative functional food that has the benefits clearly spelled-out so the diner can make informed decisions before they place their order.

70% of diner say they are more likely to choose a restaurant that offers healthy menu options. Source: National Restaurant Association

People are looking for more from their meals than taste and appearance – they want to be given options that benefit them personally and physically.

Ingredients such as chia and flax seeds, turmeric. matcha and apple cider vinegar are making their way into dishes and drinks for on the merit of their health benefits rather than just taste alone.

Dieticians Instead of Celebrity Chefs

As more people become directly involved in maintaining their personal health, we are seeing Professional Dieticians ranking alongside or even above Celebrity Chefs. Consumers want to know the nutritional benefits they can expect from their food – combining this with technological advances allows for diner to personalise their food experience, tailoring their meals and menu requests to their own nutritional needs.

With mobile devices and internet on the go continue to grow in popularity, diners are able to take advantage of apps and websites that give them access to their personal dietary needs when they’re at restaurants or quick-service venues.

Personally Assigned nutrition is a growing trend which will have a major impact on diet, and Dieticians and Nutritionists will be largely involved in educating their audience on the health benefits or risks of their chosen foods.

Collaboration with Influencers

Collaborating with influencers will remain a trend that impacts the restaurant industry, with 85% of consumers trusting reviews as much as word-of-mouth recommendations and 71% more likely to make a purchase after a social media reference.

Restaurants working with influencers need to make sure that they carefully research the person they intend to work with. It can be extremely damaging to reputation and brand to align with someone who doesn’t share the same values or is involved in some sort of scandal. It’s also extremely important to vet the quality of the influencer and determine that they have the reach and influence they claim, will provide you with value, and aren’t just looking for a free meal.

Humble Simple Food

Not every dining experience has to be a lavish stylised affair, chefs and diner want to see a return to simple dishes that focus on the flavour and the substance of the meal.

‘We would love to see restaurants concentrating on flavour and not over-complicating a dish to make them look pretty.’
Chef Scot Kirton & Chef James Gaag – La Colombe

Customers are also looking to see how restaurants are making use of leftovers and irregular ingredients, such as bent cucumbers and wonky vegetables. Combined with a continued focus on sustainability and wanting to see venues do their part, diners are looking for simple easy dishes that make use of ingredients that might otherwise go to waste.

‘We need simple food made really well.’
Chef Marthinus Ferreira DW Eleven-13

In 2018 there was a trend towards more nostalgic home-style foods, and this has led into a desire for more simple, humble dishes that evoke the taste of home cooking.

Artisan Foods

Following on from the nostalgic style of home cooking, there has been a renewed interest in Artisan foods and the traditional techniques and tastes they deliver.

Artisan foods offer a unique flavour profile that is completely different to those offered by mass-produced mainstream ingredients, and diners are enjoying the experience offered by food and beverages that they cannot get outside of the local area.

Restaurants who source their produce locally or from Artisan producers should take advantage of this trend to advertise the fact.

Mainstream Vegetarianism & Veganism

Vegetarianism and Veganism will continue to be a rising trends throughout 2019. Combined with a global focus on food health, and various initiatives that are designed to inform diner on the nutritional and calorific content of their meals, people are looking for meals that cater to their tastes but cut down on the unhealthy fats and sugars.


Vegetarianism and Veganism used to be limited to occasional Diner, but it has become more than just a minority audience and will heavily influence the way chef’s approach the creation of their menus.

237% more dishes were flagged as ‘Vegan’ on 2018 Menus.
Source: MCA

With more Diner becoming aware of macro-diets and chefs creating unique takes on home-style cooking, it’s expected that larger portions of restaurant menus will be dedicated to vegetarian food. One of the rising trends in this area is the availability of vegetarian tasting menus.


The popularity of food presented in bowls is expected to grow in popularity. Whether it’s Asian dishes such as ramen, Italian pasta or presenting your customers with cereal at breakfast or a smoothie bowl, customers are enjoying the well-presented variety of dishes that are offered to them in bowls rather than plates or cups.

Grain Bowls have already become popular choices, and customers will expect to see more of these on the menu, with Food & Drink Resources predicting that the ‘new salad’ will be a choice of grain, green, roasted vegetable and dressing.

Upcoming Food & Drink Trends

Craft Whisky

2018 saw Gin trending, and now it’s the turn of Whisky, with new craft distilleries opening and resurrecting the tradition. Many of these new drinks are highly focused on their English origins (using English Oak casks rather than American or Spanish) and the fiery spicy-sweet taste they give.

Restaurants who serve alcohol could introduce these drinks on their own or as part of a cocktail blend, they will also be able to create dishes that pair with the unique taste.

Clean Eating

Continuing with the focus on health and wellbeing, Clean Eating – the belief that eating whole foods in their most natural state and avoiding processed foods, is a growing trend that will impact restaurants in 2019.

Customers who practice clean eating are particular about the types of food and food groups they can eat, and restaurants will be challenged to innovate new dishes that meet these particular dietary requirements.

Plant Based

Chefs are moving away from traditional protein-based dishes and experimenting with recipes that focus on plant-based ingredients. These are being well received by customers who are looking to try innovative new dishes that aid them in monitoring their health, give flavoursome alternatives for specific dietary needs, and offer unique flavours for those that do not want or cannot eat meat.

Customers want dishes that speak to their lifestyle and embrace their ethical values and younger diner are especially willing to spend more with a restaurant that aligns with these goals.

25% of Millennial customers say they would be willing to spend up to 20% more for sustainable produce. (RSM)

Plant-proteins such as lentils, black beans and quinoa are being creatively used as a meat alternative and chefs are using ingredients such as carrot, sweet potato, golden beet, butternut squash and corn as sources of sweetness rather than honey or agave, which is not only a less sugary alternative – but it broadens the range of dishes available to vegan diners.

Brain Food

2019 is expected to see Brain Food making its way on to restaurant menus. Typically coming from ingredients such as eggs, spinach and berries, Chefs are also looking at more uncommon options such as turmeric, sage, lion’s mane mushrooms and holy basil, to create new dishes that not only tie in with the healthy eating and medicinal properties trend, but promote brain health and memory power.


The availability of different types and blends of tea is on the rise, and tea isn’t just being served as a drink. Flavours such as Earl Grey are being used in ice cream, cocktails and cakes to bring a bold floral element to the mix.

Afternoon Tea and Tea Parties are becoming more popular events that casual diner are attending during the lunch period, enjoying the social nature of the gathering, and the variety of teas available.

Restaurants can capitalise on this by offering different types of tea throughout the year

Fermented Drinks

Fermented foods such as kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, kefir and carrots are continuing to grow in popularity, but the fermentation trend is also impacting drinks. People are looking not only at trying a new taste, but at the health benefits that are associated with naturally cultured and fermented beverages.

Embracing new tastes and offering new drinks that are paired with appropriate dishes (either with a focus on the health benefits or the country of origin) can encourage conversation and increased popularity as the trend grows.

These are just some of the exciting trends we can expect to see in the Restaurant industry for the coming year. Understanding your customer and what they’re expecting in the year to come will help you craft innovative new menus, experiences and a more focused marketing plan to drive your restaurant sales.

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