Broaden Your Menu and Broaden Your Market
Throughout history, eating has always been seen as a social activity. Families gather around the table and share stories, while they enjoy a nicely prepared meal. With the growth of Social Media, what we eat has only become more public.
Of course, all of this attention is a good thing for you as a business owner because it gives you an opportunity to create a strategy. There is so much information out there about the Food and Beverage industry that it makes it incredibly easy to stay up to date with the current food trends. This is a great way to make sure you stay relevant amongst your competition, and grow yourself as a business owner.
The simple fact is: Food is changing. No longer do all Americans crave the casual burger and fries. Americans are growing their palate to include many ethnic cuisines from all over the world that have never been part of our diet in the past. According to Parade.com, “34% of Americans are more likely to try a new ethnic cuisine on a regular basis that 1 year ago, and the vast majority of them are between the ages of 25-34.” This is a substantial number that shows younger people are well represented in the ethnic food movement. The same article states that “76% of Americans eat Chinese/Japanese food more than once a month.” With America continuing the trend as the world’s melting pot, this number can only be expected to grow.
Climbing even faster than the Ethnic food movement is the growing health movement in the United States. Gyms are more popular than ever, and people are doing their best to stay as active as possible. Once again, this growing health trend is even showing up in the food people are eating. According to Pintrest, “Of all searches in the “comfort food” category, the word “veggies” is up 336%.” With this movement continuing to grow, people are even getting away from the healthy foods once considered trendy. In a study done on Costco’s consumer reports, “Kale is going away.” Consumers that eat Kale regularly have been transitioning to different foods such as carrot tops, mustard greens, and seaweed. These are ingredients that have similar health benefits, but have the added benefit of also reducing food waste. Incorporating these ingredients into your menu can be a great way to broaden your customer base while keeping up with what’s “hot.”
The health movement in this country is coupled by the focus on reducing carbon footprint. In December of 2016, the NRA (National Restaurant Association) surveyed 1300 members of the American Culinary Federation. 68% of these chefs have confessed that they have gone away from mass producers, and moved into ordering food from sustainable farmers. This transition has been inspired by the draw of knowing exactly where your food comes from, and how it is treated during that process. The utilization of Heirloom Tomatoes, for example, and buying fresh seafood from a sustainable fishery is a great opportunity to not only serve the best food to your patrons, but also to reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.
In addition to statistics on carbon footprint, the NRA survey also concluded that culinary professionals have shown a tendency to venture away from the “normal.” The report showed that “70% of chefs are reshaping their menus to feature ‘Street Food’ inspired dishes.” Dessert items like Deep Fried Oreos and Nutella Crepes are becoming more and more popular even in high end dining. Due to the very nature of “street food” being fun and cutting edge, chefs have more freedom to be creative with their menu selections. This is a great opportunity for you to create an item that you are known for, giving your prospective customers a greater draw to your business.
Even with all of the research that is done, it is still very difficult to keep up with everything that is happening in the industry. Revamping your menu to create a healthy food option that is based on ethnic street food and that has been sustainably sourced is no easy task. That’s what makes this industry so unique. You have the opportunity to constantly adapt and evolve to the ever-changing trends of the moment. With all the information that’s out there, you just have to decide where to reach.