April 14, 2024

CPS

Travel Adventure

30 Chefs Share Their Food & Beverage Trend Predictions For 2024

16 min read

A new year is here and with it comes a whole new set of trends and ideology that will determine what we’re going to see on menus and how we’re going to dine both in restaurants and in our own homes.

Back in October the Whole Foods Market’s Trends Council announced what they think will be the top 10 food and beverage trends in 2024, and among them some were complex heat, little luxuries, putting the “plant” back in “plant-based,” and a growth in the use of buckwheat.

We’ve seen the rise of “little treat culture” on TikTok, which if we’re being honest has been a way of life for me ever since I can remember, so I was thrilled to see I was ahead of the curve when it comes to little luxuries trending in 2024. And as a heat lover, I was equally excited to see that complex heat is on the list because you can never have enough hot sauce or spice and I love that having a spicy option is becoming more mainstream. In fact, a few months ago I was fortunate enough to speak with the team that runs innovations at KFC and they said in their studies they’ve continually discovered that the younger generations have a much higher tolerance to heat and are ordering spicy and ghost pepper more than any previous generation.

As someone who really enjoys being in the know, I look forward to the moment every year where I get the chance to to hear from those on the frontlines that are creating and executing the food and beverage trends that we’re bound to spend the next 12 months seeing everywhere we go.

Here are food and beverage trend predictions from 30 chefs and hospitality professionals from around the country.

“2024 will continue to show an increase in the use and desire for spiced condiments. Chili oils, sweet & spicy and more will be offered in a wide array of tasty possibilities from restaurants to grocery stores. I recently found “truffle chili paste” for $.99 at a local grocer. It’s not just about the heat but the complexity of flavors the public is looking for.” – Chef William Gideon, Director of Culinary at JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa in Miami, Florida

“I think the hyper-trendy initiatives are fading and chefs + restaurants are going back to classical cooking and design. Looking ahead to 2024, I think we will see simple technique driven food. This is one of the foundations of what we do at Elvie’s – classics never die. I foresee chefs continuing to take classic dishes and add some freshness to them through local ingredients and seasonality.” – Hunter Evans, chef at Elvie’s in Jackson, Mississippi

“As a chef, I’ve seen many trends come and go, but trends I think we’ll see in 2024 are Asian pastries, no-waste condiments and spreads, mushroom croutons, Bulgogi Hoagie + XL Taiwanese Fried Chicken, climate change food security, and specialty ordering platforms for global snacks.” – Sophina Uong, owner of Mister Mao in New Orleans, Louisiana

“In the beverage industry, I think there will be greater emphasis and care about the production process of tequila. While people buying cheaper tequila must accept the compromises made to put a cheap product into the bottle, individuals willing and wanting to spend a bit more will become more and more aware of which brands use traditional processes, don’t use additives, focus on transparency and sustainability, etc.” – Brian Livesay, Beverage + Operations Manager at Matador in South Carolina

“I think that quality will matter more, but it still must be approachable. It could be the best dish or cocktail in the world, but if there is not a way for a guest to identify with it, it will be hard to sell. Additionally, more than ever, the experience trumps all. If you are only trying to sell food and beverage, you will get lost in the mix of all the new things in the city. People are not coming in to pay for food and beverages, they are coming to pay for an experience. Whether that experience is nostalgic, breathtaking, quick and easy, some sort of experience.” – Brad Stewart, Director of Food and Beverage at Noelle in Nashville, Tennessee

“I see a lot of interest in chilies this year, and think we will see them used in a wider variety of ways. At Jaya, we mainly incorporate chilies both fresh and blended. Botanical florals, particularly marjoram, will be showcased throughout menus – for example, we have recently introduced a zero-proof Butterfly Pea-based beverage to our menu. Tea-infused drinks are continuing to trend in the new year and are a great non-alcoholic alternative. Additionally, we’ll see more plant-based dishes that focus more on the stem vegetable than the root – like okra, corn, eggplant, green beans and edamame.” – Vijayudu Veena, chef at The Setai Miami Beach in Miami, Florida

“Serving real food. People want genuine food, they want honest food, and I think the consumer is going to be a lot pickier with how they’re spending their money based on where the economy is and food prices. We’re going to see a lot of restaurants continuing to close, and that’s going to narrow the gap of where people get to dine. Guests are going to choose to spend their money more wisely. Additionally, I think fast food is continuing to be more popular – it always is when prices rise. People are also going to seek out more comfortable dining experiences. They want something comfortable and hospitality-forward.” – Matt Kelly, chef and partner of Nanas + Matt Kelly Hospitality inDurham, North Carolina

“It might not be a trend per se, but I think 2024 will bring a continued push toward equitable, sustainable businesses (and the growing pains that go along with that). We’ll continue to see places both big and small close to reassess and reopen in a new, purposeful way.” – Kelly Jacques, Co-Owner and Chef at Ayu Bakehouse in New Orleans, Louisiana

“People seem to be moving away from the big top shelf flashy celebrity bottles. I think today and tomorrow’s consumer is more educated (regarding tequila) and are focusing more on smaller batch and craft. Asking questions like, where is this from? How was it produced? Tell me about the family? Whiskey sales have also declined heavily and tequila still reigns supreme, more specifically, reposado tequila.” – Dylan Stewart, general manager at Blind Barber in Chicago, Illinois

“Looking back over the past few years, the pandemic shaped the course of so much of our lives and the American food scene is no exception. We saw an increased uptick in delivery, zero contact meals that were fast, cheap and satisfied the harsh demand of daily life. However, as the world begins to recuperate, gone are the days of one pot feta pasta, touchless deliveries and homemade bread, as people look for more luxurious ways to indulge, that previously their wallet or waistline did not allow. As we look forward into 2024, I expect diners to allow themselves the well-deserved slice of pizza or breakfast sandwich more than they have in the past. Look out for more indulgent items like chocolate, caviar and lobster to be the stars of the show next year, as treat-yourself culture takes center stage!” – Alec Gropman, chef at Uptown Hospitality Group and Bodega in Charleston, South Carolina

“In the 2024 food scene, we see a notable trend towards plant-based options. It’s not as simple as throwing a Beyond Burger on the menu and calling it a day. This trend requires more effort and a thoughtful approach beyond simply swapping ingredients for faux meat. Menus will likely shift, with a 15-20% increase in plant-based offerings. It’s not a fleeting trend; it’s a shift towards sustainable and delicious innovation that demands a bit more consideration in the kitchen.” – Ben Warden, executive chef at Laurel Restaurant at Hotel Viata in Austin, Texas

“We’ve all heard of the cold plunge, but the next trend in dairy will be the cheddar plunge. With shoppers relying more and more on grocery delivery, people are buying one type of cheese and serving it up in a variety of different ways. Soaking a sharp cheddar in wine, shrub, or ale completely changes the cheese experience, bringing an unexpected flavor that no one should be missing out on. Additionally I think cheeseboard staples are going to see more spice! Think bold, spicy flavors with a global influence to make amazing cheddar all the better. People are looking for ingredients that can transport them from the ordinary flavors of everyday to replicate an exotic flavor experience typically found abroad. And finally, air fryers are not just blowing hot air, they have surpassed trend status and are here to stay. And, for good reason. I think we’re going to see more air fryer grilled cheese, air fryer jalapeno poppers or air fryer nachos!” – Josh Archibald, Executive Chef of Culinary Development at Tillamook County Creamery Association

“Here is our view from behind the butcher’s tables at Sunshine Provisions…For Beef: We are going to continue to see value cuts like skirt, hanger, bavette (sirloin flap) Denver steaks (cut from chuck flap), Chuck Delmonico’s, and Zabutons (cut from chuck roll) thrive in chef-driven restaurants as they are cheaper than traditional popular middle meats (filets, and ribeyes). New York Strips have been a great value and will continue to be featured on many restaurant menus because of this. The popularity of BBQ restaurants and smoking among chefs has kept brisket and short rib prices very high. Pit Masters are now working with cheaper cuts like beef shank (Thors Hammer) and Beef Navel/ Bellies to give some cheaper options to customers. Blended Burgers are still as popular as ever, we are seeing Smash burgers gain popularity, and we make a blend modeled after the original Walgreens/McDonalds recipe that has become our go-to for the top Smash burgers in South Florida. Other items: Veal chops are going to continue to be popular because of the veal “parm” craze. Values like chicken airline breast and semi-boneless 1/2 chicken are on menus everywhere. Heritage pork bellies and chops with their low costs will strive in 2024. Charcuterie Platters seem to have lost steam over COVID-19 and are starting to see a small comeback. Forecasted new openings still show lots of Elevated Classics and Fusion menus. The rise of high-end sushi restaurants and Omakase counters will continue. Mediterranean Cuisine will continue to grow in the high-end sector.” – Michael Saperstein, owner of Sunshine Provisions in Miami, Florida

“In the tequila space, I think finishes and blends will drive innovation in the new year. The innovation pipeline will be filled with limited-edition blends and barrel finishes to allow producers to create continuous buzz in the marketplace and explore new flavor profiles. Look for inter-agave blends and cross-distillery/cross-category collaborations, like Santo Mezquila, our unique tequila/mezcal blend. Additionally, I think additive-free will become a key consumer focal point in 2024, amping up a trend that started in 2023. Tequila experts, editors and reviewers will become purity crusaders in the new year, revealing more and more tequilas as having additives, which will create a landslide “ah-ha” moment for consumers. Additives have proliferated in the tequila market, particularly to mask the bitterness of younger agave and other production shortcuts, or in an effort to conceal the flavor of agave to appeal to the vodka consumer.” – Dan Butkus, President and CEO of Santo Spirits

“Tonnato. This was the summer of tonnato and I feel like it will easily be popping up in spring everywhere. It’s *truly* the most perfect dipping sauce, salad dressing, etc. fresh herbs, umami punch from anchovies and a punch of vinegar all folded into a rich aioli, not sure where this doesn’t fit on your plate. Additionally, counter service is having a big moment and for good reason. The cost of goods and labor are making the profit margins of restaurants smaller and smaller. We are seeing more places consistently creating upscale experiences with a more streamlined model.” – Caroline Glover, co-owner and chef at Traveling Mercies in Aurora, Colorado

“I think we’re going to see smaller restaurants… which leads to smaller, more involved, and better taken care of staff as well as fresher ingredients (both raw ingredients and ability to do fresher breads, tortillas, pasta, etc). Also in the cards — livelier and hipper dining room music. Anajak Thai in L.A. supposedly has a pretty hip and in-your-face playlist. Saga in New York plays a lot of hip-hop. We play a lot of disco, funk, and hip-hop. And lastly, smaller menus! Getting away from having loads of options with apps and entrées, and focusing instead on a handful of delicious things. We’re already seeing restaurants—from casual fine dining all the way to fast food—go small, being precise and purposeful with their menus, being unapologetic about who they are and not trying to satisfy the masses.” – Drew DeLaughter, co-owner and general manager of Saint-Germain in New Orleans, Louisiana

“I think 2024 will be a year of simplicity. I’m thinking of one-pot dinner party meals, more approachable and affordable home cooking, less dishwashing. Additionally, in tandem with the NA trend, we’ll see a lot more low-alcohol beverages for those folks who still drink alcohol, but don’t want to be drunk. Also I think sustainability will be huge in 2024. We’ll see more composting, more of a tie between food and the environment, chefs talking and thinking more about coastal restoration.” – Ana Castro, chef and owner of Acamaya in New Orleans, Louisiana

“Counter service is only going to become more popular for chefs seeking to provide higher-quality food and better service, especially at dinner, without compromising their margins. And maybe 2024 is the year that we’ll see the trend of high-level food in stripped-down spaces and service formats, like counter service, coincide with the trend of set menus prices at less than $60. We’ve seen a rise in both of those things, and I’d love to see them combined. Additionally, with non-alcoholic beverages on the rise, I think high-quality, terroir-specific juices—from apples and wine grapes to rhubarb or sea buckthorn—are going to have their moment.” – Arjav Ezekiel, Co-Owner and Beverage Director of Birdie’s in Austin, Texas

“Accessibility is going to be the biggest buzzword. In this post-COVID economy, we’re going to continue to see an emphasis on accessible pricing and menu formats, with restaurant models evolving to accommodate more budget-conscious diners and provide different offerings, like takeout.” – Michael Stoltzfus, chef and owner of Coquette in New Orleans, Louisiana

“I see a continuation of restaurants coming back stronger and finer. It seems that the dining public is looking for those nicer experiences again. We see it here at Enswell; people are getting dressed up more and more to come out.” – Andrew Farley, chef at Enswell in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“Oysters are the original superfood—some historians attribute the success of early Anglo-Saxons and Danes in the British Isles to their diet of oysters—and though they’ve always been popular, I’ve been waiting for the moment that we as a culture re-engage with them, and I think 2024 is our year. A dozen oysters has as much protein as a 6oz order of steak, at fewer than half the calories. Moreover, unlike many other ways of growing food, oysters actually clean the surrounding waters, emit zero methane, reduce soil erosion, and protect the coastline against extreme weather. Their carbon footprint is also negligible, since feed does not need to be grown or transported to sustain them.” – James Whitehead, executive chef at Seaworthy in New Orleans, Louisiana

“I think we will start to see more diversity in alternative cuts of meat on restaurant menus. With costs rising, chefs will need to lean more than ever into technical skills to turn ordinary cuts like shoulder into something worth being the center of the plate.” – John Castellucci, Culinary Director at Cooks & Soldiers + Castellucci Hospitality Group in Atlanta, Georgia

“Since the pandemic, so many folks have begun to shift toward the presence of mind and clarity that come from less time spent imbibing. We’re not only going to see an increase in NA cocktails, but also a big increase in NA beverage retail stores nationwide. On the hospitality side, I think we’re going to see a significant broadening of offerings with as much nuance as any standard cocktail or wine menu—leaning into the opportunity to make sure everyone at the table feels considered and satisfied.” – Ashley Christensen, chef and proprietor of AC Restaurants in Raleigh, North Carolina

“I think there will be a big emphasis on the Mediterranean Diet. There has been a steady increase in popularity of white dips, especially Mediterranean-inspired and ingredient-forward white dips. Cedar’s Foods is a family-owned Mediterranean, ingredient forward brand, so this has been big for us. Bringing fresh products that fit into our fans’ diets is at the heart of what we do. Additionally, sweet heat is another huge trend we’re seeing in the food industry this year. The combination of spice and sugar creates a sensory adventure in every bite. We’ve found that our Topped Organic Hot Honey Hommus really climbed as a top seller and fan favorite!” – Aimee Tsakirellis, EVP of Marketing at Cedar’s Foods

“With the current trends and growing social media influencers it is always challenging to predict what could be THE thing, food and beverage industry is moving quite fast in Miami. More than ever, we’re trying to adapt our traditional recipes into a modern version, more sustainable or more into special dietary restrictions. For example, at the restaurant for the seasonal menu we added a 100% vegan, gluten-free, dairy free zucchini blossom tempura. Guests are happy to have an option directly from the menu that accommodates those restrictions rather than having to do special requests. I also think we will see even more of a need for evolved non-alcoholic pairings to share that are on par with the normal beverage pairings” – Rémi Chevallier, head chef at Bagatelle Miami in Miami, Florida

“I think plant-based proteins will continue to grow with plant-based meat alternatives like jackfruit, seitan, and tempeh as consumers seek more sustainable and healthier options. Also, the increasing use of adaptogens like ashwagandha, reishi, and turmeric in dishes and drinks for their stress-reducing and health-promoting properties. And the use of a greater variety of flours such as chickpea, almond, and cassava for gluten-free and nutrient-rich alternatives in baking and cooking. And along the same vein with beverages, I think there will be an expansion of fermented drinks like kombucha, kefir, and kvass on restaurant menus as healthier alternatives to traditional sodas.” – Chef Richard Sandoval, owner & founder, Richard Sandoval Hospitality

“In 2024, I do think food will evolve in a way to be more down to the roots. This is already in process, but it will go deeper and deeper. People are more aware of this. This means simple food, made from farm-to-table ingredients. Less industrial food.” – Jean Baptiste Scordel, chef at Boucherie NYC in New York City, New York

“A major trend that I’ve seen only rise in awareness and impact and think will see further growth in 2024 is sustainability in the food industry. More and more, I’m seeing the customers becoming more aware of what they’re consuming and putting into their bodies and looking to brands that share their values in using natural, whole ingredients, sustainably sourced ingredients they can trust. As a global brand, Zuma has always placed the most importance on delivering guests with the best quality ingredients and dishes we can find. It’s important for brands to focus on these aspects and utilize “all parts of a fish or piece of meat” for instance to decrease waste and use it to its fullest to deliver great, flavorful dishes and the best product to our customers. I’ve also seen this evolve as of late into using natural cooking techniques such as live fire and really simplifying the cooking process to let the natural flavors shine –something that Japanese cuisine embodies, and that Zuma has always stood for.” – Francisco Troncoso, Global Executive Chef at Zuma

“I think 2024 is the year of unconventional pizza. Restaurants are taking the dish to the next level, serving everything from breakfast to Indian-inspired pizza. While Pizza Fridays have been a long tradition at work and home, we anticipate seeing a growing demand for pizza orders for all parts of the day as the fan-favorite dish becomes more diverse than ever. Based on what we’re already seeing from our partners, consumers want to be educated about their food to make informed buying choices: where is it from? How was the food sourced or produced? Next year, I believe consumers will make food sustainability a top purchasing priority. This trend will manifest itself at many levels, whether in retail labeling or how restaurants describe their menu items to customers. I also predict the rise of “bougie” ingredients like caviar, lobster and truffle popping up at restaurants at more affordable prices and in more casual settings like fast casuals and QSRs. Restaurants will lean into serving ingredients that create a craveable, memorable and unique experience for their customers at a more accessible price, making it a more accessible treat that’s not only for special occasions.” – Giliah Librach, Director of Merchandising Operations at ezCater

“What is coming up this year is a focus on plant-based food to minimize ecological damage. It has been proven, and those in the culinary industry, including myself, know that what causes the most harm to the world is cow emissions, a fact not widely known. I believe it’s good to gradually introduce the idea of consuming less meat. There are many plant-based dishes like chorizos (sausages) made from mushrooms or a combination of soy and mushrooms. Trying these, you’ll find their texture and taste to be similar if not better. Demonstrating that you can enjoy high-quality food without contributing to animal cruelty or environmental contamination is crucial. At Quinto, we are implementing changes to the menu by creating dishes that, with a slight modification, are more plant friendly.” – Ivan Collazo, chef at Quinto in Miami, Florida

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