Cool trends from the National Restaurant Association Show 2023
Industry professionals came to this year’s National Restaurant Association Show to taste the latest foods and beverages, discover trends, and see the newest equipment, supply and service innovations.
Tens-of-thousands of restaurant industry professionals poured into Chicago’s McCormick Place to taste the latest in food and beverage products, catch the latest trends, and experience equipment, supply and service innovation. Here are a few notable trends from the Show.
Kanak Naturals displayed its packaging and serviceware that’s made with bamboo and sugarcane by-product and used by Texas Roadhouse, Dickey’s and Jaggers.
Pro-planet products: Doing better for the planet through environmental social governance (ESG) has become an essential component of the restaurant business due to new laws, consumer demands, and investor interest. Compostable packaging made with upcycled ingredients and improving water waste were two highly visible ESG trends at the Show. Kanak Naturals displayed packaging and serviceware made with bamboo and sugarcane by-product that is used by Texas Roadhouse, Dickey’s and Jaggers. Strawfish displayed products made from discarded oyster shells, and 3E Biotech Inc. showed packages made from coffee grounds. PLATESCRAPE is a new product focused on reducing water usage, time, and energy. According to PS Creations CEO Nate Stein, its dishwashing technology “just saved an Applebee’s unit over 30,000 gallons of water in the first month.”
Chunk Foods showcased a whole-cut, plant-based steak fortified with iron and vitamin B12.
Plant-based 3.0: Plant-based food creators have taken innovation to the next level with whole-muscle “beef” and runny egg yolks made in-part with vegetables and legumes and fortified with vitamins and minerals naturally found in animal protein. Meati Inc. sampled whole-muscle, plant-based steak that’s differentiated by its use of mushroom root. Yo Egg created the “world’s first plant-based fried egg” and debuted its runny plant-based poached eggs made with chickpeas. Chunk Foods showcased a whole-cut, plant-based steak fortified with iron and vitamin B12. And, when it comes to plant-based foods, you can’t leave out the chicken tender. As with the Chicken Sandwich War, plant-based meat creators are competing for the best chick’n tender. Meati Inc., Morningstar Farms, Impossible, and Beyond Meat were just a few plant-based chick’n tenders at the Show.
Prebiotic, probiotic, antioxidant, and organic beverages were flowing on the Show’s floor.
Be-well bevs: Prebiotic, probiotic, antioxidant, and organic beverages were flowing on the Show’s floor. Gut-health has joined lower-sugar soda trends. Ollipop was one of the first low-sugar, gut-healthy sodas on the market made with 5 grams or less of sugar, 9 grams of plant fiber, and prebiotics. Culture Pop Soda uses live probiotic cultures for gut health and keeps its sugar low by using fruit juice instead of non-nutritive sweeteners. Coca-Cola showcased Dogadan tea which combines naturally occurring antioxidants and probiotics. Tractor Beverage Co.—which is only available to restaurants because it cuts down on its carbon footprint—is the only producer of certified organic and non-GMO beverages for the foodservice industry.
Croissants, one of the most famous puff pastries, is making a comeback at bakeries, coffee shops, and as a new delivery, carry-out and dine-in morning item.
Pastry puffs blowing up: The croissant may be the most famous puff pastry, but other forms such as sweet and savory hand-pies, tarts, pastry bundles, turnovers, and strudels are making a comeback in bakeries, coffee shops, and as a new delivery, carry-out, and dine-in morning daypart opportunity for restaurants traditionally only open for dinner. It’s even trending on TikTok. C’est Gourmet displayed a wide variety of sweet and savory puff pastry including classic chocolate croissants and a specialty pastry called kouign amann. Gourmet Foods International offered customizable mini phyllo shells to be filled with a chef’s imagination, and mini cheese plait.
Beverage manufacturers are having fun with frozen drinks. The classic Icee has received an upgrade featuring customizable flavor dispensers.
Frozen fun: Beverage manufacturers are having fun with frozen drinks. The classic Icee received an upgrade with a customizable flavor dispenser. Blue raspberry, mango, Minute Maid lemonade, and Sprite Icee flavors can now be customized to add a touch of strawberry or a touch of cherry. Frozen Dr Pepper, Big Red, Hawaiian Punch, and Sunkist Cherry Limeade are now available frozen too. These classic frozen beverages can heat up the drink menu. They can be enjoyed as-is, with creamy toppers, candy add-ins, or trendy and classic spirits. And, these beverages fall right in line with Tik Tok beverage trends.
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