Dec 14, 2021 - Economy & Business

What we'll be eating in 2022

Illustration of an open fridge with light coming out

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Next year's restaurant industry trend predictions are in, and they include avocado coffee (an Indonesian delicacy), gourmet egg sandwiches and Burger King Whoppers made with Halloumi cheese instead of burgers.

Why it matters: As the pandemic lingers, it's shaping what ingredients are available as well as how we eat, with newfound habits that we once thought were temporary turning out to be permanent.

Driving the news: A new forecast from Technomic, a food service industry consultancy, predicts that many trends of the past year — like ghost kitchens, meal kits and restaurants selling groceries — will likely persist.

  • "We continue to see the push towards selling foods that are meant to be consumed outside of the restaurant, whether it's to-go ordering or delivery," Aaron Jourden, a senior research manager at Technomic, tells Axios.
  • "The elephant in the room is this lingering pandemic that forced ongoing shutdowns across different countries and has really continued to inform what everybody is doing."

Jourden and his team scour menus from 25 countries to glean trends about what we'll be eating and how we'll consume it. They expect to see these dishes and ingredients popping up globally:

  • Mutabal, a Middle Eastern eggplant dip similar to baba ghanoush.
  • Plant-based eggs.
  • Pao de queijo, a Brazilian cheese bread.
  • Tlayudas, a Mexican-style pizza built on a crispy tortilla.
  • Halloumi, a Greek cheese that Technomic says is "primed for the center stage as a craveable, vegetarian-friendly alternative to meat."

Another prediction: "Avocado coffee will expand out of Indonesia and other parts of Asia into global markets."

  • The drink, known as jus alpukat, is typically made with avocado, condensed milk, and either coffee or chocolate.

Details: Breakfast is rising in global clout, with more chefs making hand-held egg sandwiches with gourmet ingredients that can be consumed on the go.

  • "Egg sandwiches are having a moment in many parts of the world and will soon dethrone the chicken sandwich as the next must-have-on-my-menu restaurant item," Technomic predicts.
  • Jourden attributes this to people developing new morning routines now that lockdowns have eased in most places.

Sandwiches from a South Korean breakfast chain called Egg Drop have gone viral, with fluffy eggs served in pretty little boxes.

  • In the same way that loaded french fries have been trending — topped with gravy, cheese and other artery-cloggers — maple syrup and caramel-topped fries and hash browns may soon have their moment.

And salty foods are poised for a big run.

  • "Salt is the new fat — an indulgent flavor enhancer sought after for its craveable comfort capabilities," Technomic says in a separate report on 2022 trends.
  • This includes everything from purslane to seaweed, salt-cured meats and fish, and cocktails that incorporate salt water.

Between the lines: Supply chain issues will continue to be a limiting factor.

  • "Shortages of paper-based packaging for takeout orders and other paper-based materials have been pervasive and are expected to last into next year," the Specialty Food Association reports.
  • In Japan, KFC and McDonald's have had french fry shortages.

What's next: "Veganuary," in which people give up meat for the month, is big in Europe and will make inroads in the U.S., Jourden predicts.

  • Dalgona, the South Korean street candy and coffee flavor made famous by "Squid Game," will stay hot for a while.
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