Can you believe we're already four months into 2023? Yeah, neither can we. It feels like we were just reflecting on the best and grossest food trends of 2022 — and looking forward to another year of viral recipes, questionable concoctions, and must-have grocery items.
With that in mind, we thought it would be fun to ask ourselves (and some of our favorite people in the food world): What are the current trends in the world of eating and drinking? Ahead, learn what top food trends have been stealing the show, according to food experts.
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1. Low ABV and Non-Alcoholic Drinks
Once upon a time, non-alcoholic drinks were limited to water and soda at restaurants — but those days are long gone. "I've seen so many non-alcoholic drinks popping up everywhere, from bar and restaurant menus to canned products in grocery stores," chef, TV personality, and cookbook author Eitan Bernath tells Hunker. Bernath has also noticed that social media creators have been making their own healthier alcoholic drinks and non-alcoholic beverages as well.
"There are [hundreds of] reasons why someone may not drink alcohol," adds Bernath. "It's nice to see drink makers put serious effort into making something [that's] delicious, feels special, and looks beautiful, but happens to be alcohol-free."
2. Foraged and Snack-Ready Mushrooms
The year 2023 has proven that the mushroom food trend has gone beyond the design space. So much so that the fabulous fungi are no longer limited to savory dishes. Case in point: "We've been seeing mushrooms entering the snack section," says Justine Sterling, editor-in-chief at Sporked, adding that she recently tried crunchy mushroom chips by Popadelics.
Foraged mushrooms are also stealing the show as new meat substitutes in restaurants around the world, shares Rece Hogerheide, executive chef at The Apparatus Room at Detroit Foundation Hotel. "From lion's mane 'crab cakes' to roasted maitake mushrooms, these fungi are further embedded in the repertoire of professional and home chefs as an interesting ingredient [in] their cooking," Hogerheide tells Hunker.
3. Pasta Alternatives
Although alternative pastas (i.e., pasta made from ingredients other than traditional wheat) have been around for a while, they've become especially popular as of late. "I'm seeing more and more pasta alternatives when grocery shopping, and I don't just mean 'zoodles,'" says Traci Weintraub, chef and founder of Gracefully Fed, a restaurant in Los Angeles. Some popular examples are:
- Rice pasta
- Chickpea pasta
- Lentil pasta
4. Innovative Seaweed Products
According to Jenny Gyllander, founder of Thingtesting, seaweed will continue to have its moment in the sun this year. "We've noticed innovative brands exploring creative and unique ways to incorporate seaweed into their food products," Gyllander tells Hunker. "Notable examples include Rootless' seaweed bites, Sea Monsters' sorgum and seaweed puffs, Sea Tea's savory teas, and Daybreak's range of pantry [seaweed] staples."
5. Dates as Substitutes
"Dates have been a delectable ingredient [that have been] adored for centuries, but I really see them reaching their zenith now," shares chef, culinary personality, and cookbook author Aarti Sequeira. "We're using dates as a natural substitute in everything from baked goods to smoothies to ice cream, but they're also a superb counterpart to crisp produce in salads or roasted/grilled meat and poultry." According to Sequeira, this flexibility has moved dates from the occasional purchase to a pantry staple for many folks.
With that in mind, Sequeira thinks people will start exploring beyond the common fudgy Medjool variety. She is specifically seeing these dates garner more interest in the food world:
- Deglet noor
6. Water Recipes
"People are doing extremely bonkers things to water on TikTok," notes Gwynedd Stuart, managing editor at Sporked. In fact, the hashtag "#watertok" is a thing, and it currently has 152.8 million views and counting.
According to Stuart, the 2023 food trend consists of spiking water with flavored syrups and powders, then serving it in a large insulated mug or cup. For instance, she recently saw one water-based drink made of two pumps vanilla-almond syrup, two pumps coconut syrup, and a Starburst strawberry powder packet. Woah.
7. Sweet Rolls
Sure, cinnamon rolls are delicious ... but why stop there? According to Bernath, there's been a recent uptick in sweet roll recipes on Instagram and TikTok, many of which feature flavor and filling combinations for every season. For example, Bernath has spotted lemon doughs with lemon curd fillings and sweet doughs with blueberry jam and berries swirled into the frostings.
As these creations prove, there are "so many ways to expand the form and function of a sweet roll beyond cinnamon and brown sugar," says Bernath.
8. High-Quality Foods in Convenient Packaging
"In 2023, we're witnessing the blend of convenience and quality as high-end foods in handy packaging gain traction among Thingtesting's community," Gyllander tells Hunker. "This trend also places a big emphasis on sustainable, eco-friendly packaging."
Some examples, according to Gyllander, include:
- Luxury boxed wines by Juliet
- Flavored canned beans by Heyday Canning Company
- Squeezable olive oils by Graza
9. Cereal Mashups
"We've seen a lot of non-cereal brands releasing cereal-adjacent products, as well as cereal brands drawing inspiration from non-cereal snacks," shares Stuart. For example, Pillsbury recently collaborated with Lucky Charms to release a ready-to-bake cookie dough, while Pop-Tarts came out with an Apple Jacks flavor, says Stuart. Meanwhile, there's a Kit-Kat cereal on the way, which Stuart is looking forward to.
"Everyone loves cereal. It spans demographics and it's good for every meal. It's nostalgic [and] comforting," says Stuart.
10. Pop Culture Crossovers
While we're on the topic of mashups: Pop culture collaborations have been a popular approach in the food industry. "It's not enough to just come out with a new flavor these days; it has to be connected to a known [intellectual property]," whether it's a musician (like the new Rosalía Coke) or video game (hello, Minecraft Pringles), according to Sterling. "Food and drink companies are working overtime to connect their products to bigger cultural phenomena," she adds.
11. Tinned Fish
Canned fish has been super popular lately, and it's easy to see why. It's shelf-stable, easy on the wallet, and deliciously versatile. It also doesn't hurt that world of tinned fish has expanded beyond your usual tuna and sardines, as you can now find the item in many different varieties and flavors.
As Bernath notes, "I've seen everything from TikTok couples creating tinned fish boards for dinner to great companies making tinned fish feel fun and delicious, rather than [just] a cheap protein option." Personally, Bernath loves canned salmon for salmon cakes and canned mackerel for white fish dip.