2022 Restaurant Predictions and Trends

The pandemic has definitely changed what and how we eat either at home or at a restaurant or on the go. Innovation and new tech tools put consumers in the driver’s seat.

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  • Robots are coming. Both front and back-of-house. This means robotic bartenders, and 3D printing of plant-based burgers are being automated. Robots can prepare your burgers, tacos, pizza, and salads at this time. Restaurants are going for these inventions to solve much of the Great Resignation. The question is this, how long until there is a return on investment for the restaurants. The shorter, then the more robots may be desired over hiring employees.
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  • Menu trends –
    1. bold-flavored drinks are on the rise. Robust flavors could provide reassurance to people they still have, or have recovered, their senses.
    2. Extreme hummus variations – adding citrus, Kalamata olives, or roasted mushrooms with garlic chips, new ways of serving hummus is on the gain.
    3. Plant-based chicken – being tested now at Burger King, A&W, Panda Express and KFC amongst other chains
    4. Singaporean Cuisine – several movies have come out hailing a dish called Singaporean curry noodle dish laksa to be totally awesome.
    5. Caribbean Cuisine – from conch fritters and barracuda steaks to goat stew, whole roasted hog, mofongo and callaloo – these are some dishes worth trying.
    6. Agave spirits – raicilla, bacanora, sotol and different cactus types are distinctive enough to be interesting are gaining popularity to these types of liquors.
    7. West African Cuisines – stretching from Mauritania to Cameroon are being explored in restaurants sharing the distant heritage of the African diaspora. And this should be celebrated. Suya and joloff rice which is probably an ancestor of Jambalaya are appearing on menus. Spice blends and egusi (melon seeds) are included.
    8. Fermentation of all kinds is on the rise. These are living foods, not preserved foods, Kimchi is among them, being included as something more than just a family condiment.
    9. Wagyu – “Japanese beef” that is rich in marbling and gets a premium price tag with it. This type of beef is becoming more and more common for the average American consumer.
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  • Technology Trends –
    • 1) Ghost Kitchen space is about to get quite competitive.
    • 2) Technology-enabled pickup solutions – temperature-controlled delivery boxes that keep hot food hot and cold foods cold are en route for delivery. The rising number of complaints about “soggy food” has resulted In packaging technology innovation being a priority to keep the growing percentage of restaurant delivery customers satisfied.
    • 3) Drop-in high-end dining – “Less fussy fine dining” – hospitality CEOs and founders of restaurant hospitality groups have noticed that in New York City, casual concepts are more in vogue. Many high-end dining establishments in New York City used to require dinner jackets for men. Now there is only one place left with that requirement.
    • 4) Cuisine variety – As more and more people eat at casual dining venues the need for “Eat the World” offerings has also become very popular.

Sprouting Grains Increases Nutrition of Food

One of the hottest topics in culinary is using a technique called “sprouting”.

Sprouting is practiced in many parts of the world to improve the nutritional value of seeds, grains, nuts and legumes. Sprouting is when these food items are soaked between 24 hours and 3 days.

When I was young we learned to germinate or sprout seeds that were going into the garden using this technique.

To sprout seeds, grains, nuts or legumes, place the amount you want to use in a bowl and cover with water. Each day drain, rinse and replace the water with fresh. Usually, 3-5 days is all you need. This process also aids in digestion.

The process of sprouting has been said to increase nutrient content while decreasing anti-nutrients. This should provide many other health benefits. Antinutrients are plant compounds that reduce the body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients.

Antinutrients include calcium oxalate, lectins, tannins, which are a class of antioxidant polyphenols; protease inhibitors and phytate a.k.a. phytic acid.

Soaking and germinating are great methods for reducing these antinutrients. Below are some studies that show soaking will reduce these antinutrients by 9-30% They found this to be true with leafy greens as well, such as spinach.

Boiling, by far was the best technique to lower the antinutrients by more than 60%

Even better, use a combination of techniques like sprouting then boiling which can remove antinutrients by up to 95%.

Fermentation of food products such as yogurt, cheese, coffee, cocoa and soy sauce helps reduce antinutrients. How about making a batch of sourdough bread. Making this effectively degrades antinutrients in the grains, leading to an increased availability of nutrients.

Look at all of these studies showing that sprouting, soaking, fermentation and cooking grains reduce the bad stuff while increasing the availability of good things for our bodies. Plus, these naturally processed foods taste great and can be made with lots of variety.

Explore these food preparations and cooking techniques on grains, nuts, seeds and legumes and give us a response. Your body will thank you for it, especially your taste buds.

Sprouting instructions

NIH article about how our bodies digest quinoa

Soaking, boiling, and antinutritional factors in peas

Phytate in food and significance for humans

Making bread with sourdough

Germination and fermentation of cereals

Effects of germination on soy-beans

Reduce Ultra-Processed Foods

Processed Foods Modern Definitions Reduce Ultra-Processed Foods

There have been lots of talks about how to classify processed foods. Here is a modern approach being accepted across the nation from NIH (National Institutes of Health):

1) unprocessed or minimally processed,
2) processed culinary ingredients,
3) processed foods, and
4) ultra-processed food and drink products.

Unprocessed foods include edible parts of plants or animals, as well as fungi and algae. These are found to be fresh, frozen, or even fermented. Foods that have not been treated with additives, injected with salt or rubbed with oil prior to consumption. Examples are dry beans; grains like rice; fresh or dried mushrooms; meat and dairy products; seafood; plain yogurt; nuts; fresh herbs and spices.

Processed culinary ingredients involve some steps when getting ready for the market (production). These are ingredients made from unprocessed foods, like vegetable oils, butter, and lard. Foods like honey from combs, sugar from cane, and syrup from maple trees are part of this group.

Processed foods are products that have been infused with sugar, salt, and/or fat to help improve how long they remain on the shelves in stores. These include Canned fruits, fermented yeast breads (most breads), alcohol, cheese, pickles, and salted nuts.

Ultra-processed foods are ready to eat or ready to heat items. In short, foods that have been processed significantly for many reasons to make consumers happy.

Ultra-processed foods are made often in a factory, broken down from their whole or fresh form and treated with colors, thickeners, glazes, and additives. They may be fried then canned or packaged or wrapped. Foods here in this category may contain high-fructose corn syrup, protein isolates, or interesterified oils that replace trans-fats. Examples of ultra-processed foods include packaged granola bars, carbonated soft drinks, candy, mass-produced bread, margarine, energy drinks, canned or jarred cheeses, flavored yogurt, chicken nuggets, deli meats, hot dogs and pizza.

Reduce Ultra-Processed Foods

When research “strongly suggests“, I can’t use the words “have proof” (might be offensive to some), that foods that are ultra-processed are linked to weight gain, increased rates of various cancers, chronic inflammation and early death.

Studies are being released almost monthly showing the effects of processed foods. It is most unlikely that all of us will hop on the “all-natural” bandwagon. However, if we can make small shifts towards less ultra-processed food intake, it most likely will result in our having much better health and happiness.

Scientists consider food to be processed if it’s made with additives and preservatives for flavor and freshness, like sugar, salt, and/or oil.

Consumers feel that processed foods should be defined as such if the food has artificial preservatives. Therefore, the grocery shopper feels the list of processed foods is much smaller than the scientists’ list.

The main attraction for processed foods is that they are available at a very inexpensive cost. This is true with flour, sugar, soda pop, table salt and many other products. Early in the 1900s, as machines began to process more and more food, prices dropped. Consumer education on how food is processed was also kept silent as new food manufacturers wanted to introduce their product. Also back then, food could have more claims to health benefits without consequences. Today, we live in a very consequential society and information sharing is promoted with equal importance as the products we purchase.

The bottom line is that if we as consumers want information, we can find it. However, most consumers are blind and uncaring about what they purchase until health problems emerge.

As processed foods are under much scrutiny, new findings from recent studies suggest there is something different about how quickly our bodies take in processed foods and how those foods interact with key hormones that help regulate our appetites.

This makes a great case for learning how to cook.

For now, Chefsville wants to help by suggesting that families take steps to reduce their intake of ultra-processed foods. Bit by bit. Replace one each month with more natural foods. In a year, we would love to hear how well you are feeling and what steps were taken to get there.

Source: NIH Study reported by Cell.com

Links: NIH Nova Classifications
https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/ultra-processed-foods#1
https://www.heartandstroke.ca/articles/what-is-ultra-processed-food