Fresh produce supplier Bidfresh is advising chefs to prepare for an even broader range of customer dietary trends than ever during 2020.
According to Bidfresh, consumers will bring an increasingly complex set of values to the table when they eat out next year and beyond.
Their new report, 2020 Vision: Fresh Food Trends in Hospitality and Foodservice, uses exclusive sales data and features insights into the best-sellers and rising star products across the four Bidfresh divisions –meat, fish and seafood, fruit and vegetables, and cheese.
While steaks, salmon and salad are still in demand, sales of previously lesser-used meat cuts, such as the flat-iron steak, and alternative fish species, such as meagre and monkfish, are on the rise, as well as less traditional vegetables such as kale and butternut squash. Halloumi has also been a star sales performer.
The report also forecasts key menu trends for 2020, highlighting a rise in "seaganism", a broadly plant-based diet which also includes fish and seafood, and "sustainarianism", where the environmental and ethical impact of food production is factored into menu choices.
Stephen Oswald, chief executive officer of Bidfresh, said: "Eating out is increasingly as much about value as it is about cost; not just value for money, but the values that an operator brings to the menu. These ‘sustainarian' customers increasingly want to be sure that the food they eat has been produced sustainably and ethically, and they also curate their own food choices very carefully.
"There are others who have cut back on meat, but when they do eat it, expect a premium product with provenance. Bespoke burgers continue to be an important trend and we're also expecting many more recipes which feature meat combined with plant ingredients to appear on menus in 2020. From jackfruit to halloumi, there's a huge amount of innovation from chefs in these areas.
"You can't ignore economic factors either, and one clear trend is operators looking carefully at different cuts and portion sizes, as well as making the best use of food, which can be anything from crispy fried fish skin served as a bar snack to vegetable and fruit peelings and stalks used to make smoothies. This has the added benefit of reducing food waste."
Other trends identified in the report include:
Vegan in vogue: this is an area seems to expand year on year, with new, innovative products including vegan bacon jam and potato slider buns. Sales of vegan 'cheese' products are up 52%, allowing kitchens to veganise classic dishes such as burgers and pizzas.
Meat substitutes: products such as tinned jackfruit, mushroom varieties such as puff balls and Chanterelle, aubergineand halloumi cheese, all of which can be used as meat alternatives, are seeing sales boom. Wheat protein seitan is popular in products as a substitute for pepperoni and chicken.
Leaner choices: flat-iron steak, the lean cut made famous in the US, is a big hit in the casual dining sector, while venison is also increasing in popularity. Customisable burgers remain in demand.
Seafood surprises: chefs are preserving fish and seafood through pickling, fermenting, smoking and ageing to make bar snacks and sharing boards. Seafood skewers, high-quality kebabs using a range of fish, are enabling chefs to serve a broader range of species.