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This is 2020: Part 1

This is 2020: Part 1

Indigenous ingredients, emerging wines set for the spotlight

As we enter a new decade, we continue to look forward to finding new trends and see how chefs, bartenders and others in the restaurant world will innovate. Here, big changes will emerge in sustainability, having a larger impact on how restaurants do business. But we’re also seeing exciting moves in wine, looking at lesser-known regions, as well as plants will continue to dominate menus. This coming year looks exciting for many reasons. Let’s see why.

Zero-waste cooking and cocktailing

Each year, Americans waste 150,000 tons of food. Every day. Sure, that’s at restaurants and at homes, but collectively that’s a lot of wasted food. Because of this, restaurants have stepped up efforts to reduce waste in kitchens and behind their bars by using every aspect of produce and animal protein when possible—and that will only gain steam in 2020.

In October 2019, the National Restaurant Association collaborated with three government agencies, including the FDA, to commit to reducing food waste and working with its restaurant partners to tweak their practices and also donate food after each service.

“More restaurant patrons, especially younger customers, have grown up with sustainability-related information and now look for restaurants incorporating eco-friendly practices,” says Hudson Riehle, SVP of research and knowledge, National Restaurant Association. "From zero-waste cooking to recycling and composting, these practices are good for business by helping restaurants better manage their operations and build a sense of community with customers based on shared environmental values.”

Plant-based products are here to stay

In 2019, whether it was the Impossible Burger showing up in unexpected places like Burger King or restaurants adding whole vegan sections to menus, plant-based cooking has moved from trend to full-blown movement, and it’s not slowing down. Watch for more restaurants—from high end to quick service to fast food—to realize mainstream America wants more plant-based offerings either for their health or for environmental reasons. People realize you don’t need heavy animal proteins at every meal to feel sated and chefs have free reign to get creative with even more ingredients.

Wines from lesser-known regions

Whether it’s to introduce diners to new varietals or to help save money on the wine budget, bar managers and sommeliers will start looking to emerging wine regions for their lists. Think: Eastern Europe (Slovenia, Croatia, Georgia, Bulgaria), Middle East (Lebanon and Israel), South America (Uruguay)—and even some U.S. states (Idaho, Texas, Michigan). These regions offer wines using local, indigenous grapes alongside more-known varieties often at a fraction of the cost of established wine areas like California, Italy or Argentina, and the wines can often rival those of their more-established counterparts.

“Sommeliers and wine programs are always looking for ways to set themselves apart, to find the next big thing,” says Jon McDaniel, a Food & Wine sommelier of the year for 2018 and owner of Second City Soil, a wine consultancy. “With wine quality growing around the world, you will see more wine from unique grapes and regions across the globe. In major markets, these regions, like the Middle East and Eastern Europe, are already starting to be represented, so their growth is only going to continue.”

Spotlighting indigenous ingredients

Chefs love exploring foods from a variety of global cultures. It helps them stay creative and gives them the chance to introduce new flavors into their cooking. We’ve seen Indian and Middle East flavors explode over the last couple of years, and now chefs are turning to West Africa for many plant-based ingredients like cassava, yams, kola nuts, plantains, okra, Scotch bonnet chilies and more. They’re also looking to South America for yucca, acai, quinoa (yes, more quinoa), amaranth, chiles, alpaca and various tropical fruit like passion fruit, cherimoya, guava and lucuma.

“Consumers are increasingly craving bold, exotic flavors and the traditional indigenous ingredients found in South American cuisines satisfies that craving,” says Dana Speers, director of operations, creative and culinary for THP, a content creation and social media solution provider for more than 750 food and beverage brands across North America, Europe, and the UK. "Food producers, retailers and foodservice operators, including restaurants, will be drawing upon food and beverages from Peru, Ecuador, Brazil and other South American countries to inspire the creation of highly differentiated products and offerings that are sure to engage and excite customers."

Unique fruits in cocktailing

With higher focus on low-alcohol and spirit-free drinks, bartenders continue to seek out unique flavors to boost their cocktails. Enter a variety of unique fruits like calamansi, prickly pear, dragonfruit, citron, pomelo and others, which are finding their ways into a variety of drinks to add brightness and depth of flavor to replace or even enhance various spirits.


  • Author: Ari Bendersky
  • Posted: December 12, 2019
  • Categories: Trending Now
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