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5 Important Food Trends (2023 & 2024)

by Josh Howarth
December 2, 2022

When it comes to food and beverages, consumer preferences are always in flux.

A few trends that started during the pandemic, like trying to recreate a restaurant-like experience at home, are still popular.

But a large portion of consumers are also ready to embrace new flavors and formulations.

Plus, people are focused on the sustainability and health benefits of food more than ever before.

With that, here are the top five top food trends for 2023 and 2024.

1. Artful and Inventive Charcuterie Boards

In their 2023 culinary trends report, the National Restaurant Association listed charcuterie boards as the top-ranked appetizer of the year.

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Charcuterie boards are the hottest appetizer and side trend of 2023.

This artsy combination of meats, cheeses, and other finger foods arranged on a wooden platter first started gaining popularity during the pandemic, but this trend is expected to continue to grow well into 2023.

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Search volume for “charcuterie board” has jumped more than 9500% in the past five years.

The main appeal for today’s consumers is that charcuterie boards offer a quick and easy solution for dinner. They also help people put together a cost-conscious dinner while still achieving a restaurant-like experience.

Midan Marketing reports 25% of consumers are making at least one charcuterie board at home each month.

Many consumers are taking to social media to post their charcuterie board creations.

In fact, so many of these posts have popped up that the term “charcuterie influencer” has been coined.

One such influencer is Maggie Johnson (@magsmeals).

She has amassed more than 265k followers on TikTok despite only being on the platform for one year.

In 2021, she put together a Christmas Eve charcuterie board and the video received more than 41k views.

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Maggie Johnson’s TikTok videos receive more than 40k views.

Meats and cheeses aren’t the only tending charcuterie ingredients, though. Butter boards are the latest trend.

Home cooks are slathering a layer of softened butter on a wooden tray and adding garlic, spices, and herbs on top. Bread is served alongside the butter.

The trend has nearly 390 million views on TikTok.

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The butter board trend is said to have started with @justine_snacks.

For those consumers who don’t have time to make their own charcuterie board at home, businesses and restaurants are stepping in.

Beauty and the Board is a Florida-based company that ships their charcuterie boards across the country.

Major cities across the globe have dozens of retailers that create boards locally.

Charcuterie boards are also making an appearance on restaurant menus.

The trend is particularly popular in Italian restaurants, which harkens back to the Italian roots of the charcuterie board.

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Zanti Cucina Italiana offers a charcuterie board with homemade marinated olives, smoked speck, and gorgonzola cheese.

2. Speciality Salts Gain Popularity with Restaurant Chefs and Home Cooks

The gourmet salt market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 6.17% over the next five years to reach a total valuation of more than $477 million.

Flavor & the Menu, a food industry magazine, recently wrote that salt is becoming the “star of the show” in many restaurant menu items. They rank it as number-four in the top 10 list of food trends for 2022.

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Many 2022 food trend lists mention the use of specialty salts.

Their article cites three salts in particular: pink peppercorn, matcha, and black lava salt.

Black lava salt is an especially distinct salt because of its unique color and enticing name.

Traditional black lava salt is harvested from lava in Hawaii or Cyprus. However, today, most of this salt is regular sea salt mixed with activated charcoal.

Home cooks are trying this trend, too. One of the reasons is the perceived health benefits associated with unrefined salts.

Unrefined salts, like sea salt and Himalayan salt, retain all of their minerals like potassium, iron, magnesium, and others.

A recent survey from Cargill showed that these perceptions matter to consumers.

They measured the “net health perceptions” of consumers when it came to certain ingredients. Sea Salt had a +36% score compared to “salt,” which posted a -15% score.

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Cargill’s research showed that consumers perceive unrefined salts as being a healthier choice than regular salt.

In the U.K., one grocery store chain reported that sales of Himalayan Pink Salt and rock salt increased by 2,000% and demand for sea salt crystals rose by 2,600% in 2020.

Truff is a start-up based in southern California that sells luxury sauce and seasonings. In less than five years, they’ve already garnered the support of several celebrities.

The company recently added a black truffle salt to its limited menu of offerings.

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The black truffle salt is a blend of fine and coarse sea salt along with dried black truffles.

The company’s salt gift pack is featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things holiday gift list in 2022.

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Search volume for “Truff” is up 156% since 2018.

In another example of this trend, two home cooks started the Portland Salt Co. during the pandemic.

Their artisan salt blends feature salt drawn from the Pacific Ocean. Their signature steak salt features a balanced blend of garlic, onion, and cayenne pepper with Pacific sea salt.

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The steak salt is influenced by flavors from France, Japan, and South America.

The company’s products were exhibited during the 2022 Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City.

3. Yuzu Flavors Beer, Water, and Desserts

This Japanese fruit that many compare to a lemon, Yuzu, is quickly gaining popularity in the United States.

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Search volume for “yuzu fruit” is up 97% over the last 24 months.

Food and Beverage Insider reports that the number of Google searches for "yuzu" grew nearly 50% between mid-2020 and late 2021.

In an effort to prevent citrus disease outbreaks, the USDA prohibits imports of fresh yuzu. But it is grown in California and imported as juice.

The fruit is traditionally used in ponzu (a citrus-flavored soy sauce), but hundreds of new yuzu products have come out in the past year.

In fact, according to Innova Market Insights there were 236 new yuzu-containing products launched in 2021.

Many of those products were beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

A Filipino-American living in New York launched Sanzo in 2019. His aim is to bring traditional Asian flavors like yuzu to the sparkling water category.

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Sanzo offers a yuzu ginger drink with no added sugar.

The company wrapped up a $10 million Series A funding round in March 2022.

Japas Cervejaria, a Japanese-Brazilian beer company, has created a yuzu-infused beer called Sawā. They compare the flavor of the beer to a Sicilian lemon, mandarin, and grapefruit.

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Sawā beer features a sour note of yuzu to complement the hops.

The female-owned brewery is in talks to bring their products to the United States in late 2022.

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Search volume for “yuzu beer” has climbed more than doubled since 2018.

Yuzu is also a popular ingredient in desserts.

Chef Marcus Samuelsson offers a yuzu fruit tart on the menu of his fine dining restaurant in Montreal.

Morgenstern’s, a contemporary ice cream parlor in New York City, is famous for its eclectic flavors.

In 2022, Toasted Rice Yuzu Swirl became one of those flavors. They describe the flavor like a tart creamsicle.

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Morgenstern’s ice cream blends the richness of toasted rice with the acidity of yuzu.

4. Consumers Try Out Alternative Pastas

The search for alternative pasta options may have started with zoodles in the mid-2010s, but the trend has shifted beyond basic vegetables to include lentils, carrots, seaweed, and more.

Food manufacturers are finding plenty of demand for these alternative options as pasta continues to be one of American consumers’ favorite foods.

A 2022 survey showed 55% of individuals in the United States say they eat pasta regularly.

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More than half of Americans regularly eat pasta.

A large portion of the interest in alternative pasta is driven by gluten-free consumers. (Traditional pasta is made from wheat, which contains gluten.)

In the last 10 years, interest in gluten-free foods has nearly quadrupled and one-third of Americans are actively trying to reduce the amount of gluten they eat.

Another important consumer subset looking for alternatives to wheat pasta are those who adhere to a low-carb or keto diet.

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Interest in “keto pasta” has increased more than 150% in the past five years.

About 5% of Americans follow keto/low-carb diets and pasta and other carbs are the number-one type of food that causes them to “cheat” on the diet.

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The low-carb diet is one of the most popular diets in the United States.

Lentil pasta is one option for consumers who are looking for a hearty noodle that’s gluten-free and low in carbs.

The fact that lentil pasta has only one ingredient (lentil flour) makes it a popular option for clean-eating consumers.

It’s also lower in calories and carbs while being higher in protein and fiber as compared to wheat pasta.

Consumers are also buying into lupini pasta as another alternative to wheat noodles.

Lupini beans are most frequently eaten as a pickled snack in Mediterranean countries.

Their popularity is growing, in part, because they offer a sustainable source of protein. Each serving contains more protein than a serving of chicken breast.

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Search volume for “sustainable protein” shows tremendous growth since 2018.

Lupii is a startup that’s offered lupini-based protein bars for the past three years. In 2022, they launched three new lupini-based pastas.

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Lupii’s pasta comes as penne, elbows, and rotini.

In 2021, the company raised $150k from 400 crowdfunding investors. They’re also backed by New York-based Human Ventures.

5. Consumer Preferences and Seafood Scarcity Drive Demand for Plant-Based Seafood

As some consumers look for plant-based pasta options, others are looking for plant-based options that will replace animal-based meats.

ADM reports that 52% of the global population considers themselves flexitarians, eating both plant-based and animal-based meats. And, two-thirds of that group say they’re decidedly “trying to use more plant-based foods.”

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Google searches for “flexitarian” shows nearly 70% growth since 2018.

Seafood is one sector of the industry that hasn’t seen a surge in plant-based alternatives, but experts predict that fact will change in the coming months.

Faux fish was named a top trend for 2023 at the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting.

In addition, the plant-based seafood market is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 28% through 2031 ending up with a valuation of $1.3 billion.

Investment capital is pouring into the market, too.

In 2021, alternative seafood companies raised $175 million in capital. That was nearly double the numbers of 2020.

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Investment numbers show growing interest in alternative seafood.

This trend is partially driven by consumer attitudes, but also by necessity.

On a global scale, consumption of seafood has doubled since 1998 and is expected to climb another 80% by 2050.

However, somewhere between 70% and 90% of the world’s fish stocks are already either overexploited or depleted.

The alternative seafood options on the market today use ingredients like beans, peas, and lentils to try to achieve a texture and flavor that’s similar to traditional fish.

In 2021, Long John Silver’s partnered with Good Catch to launch two plant-based seafood options at select restaurant locations.

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The restaurant offered Fish-Free Filets and Crab-Free Cakes.

Current Foods is another manufacturer of alternative seafood.

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Search volume for “Current Foods” is climbing.

The San Francisco-based startup makes sushi-grade, ready-to-eat tuna and salmon.

Their formula combines bamboo, potato, radish, tomato, algae, and peas to recreate the texture and color of fish.

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Current Foods offers tuna cubes and tuna filets.

In late 2022, the company closed an $18 million seed funding round and debuted in its first retail location.

Conclusion

That’s all for our list of the top five of the biggest food trends happening right now.

A large percentage of consumers, especially younger generations, are seeking out food that’s good for them and good for the environment. They’re adventurous enough to try new options, possibly foods they’ve never considered before.

Also, as consumers become more aware of the health effects of certain foods, they may become even more discerning about the products they buy.

The coming years will likely be filled with a host of new ingredients, new flavors, and new combinations. For food and beverage brands, keeping an eye on consumer tastes will be more important than ever.