Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Flavor & The Menu Contributors
January 13, 2021

This trend really leans on the storytelling aspect of the foodservice operation and the marriage between chef and wellness professionals. Can it be satiating and delicious as well? Absolutely!

Stronger immunity is a natural desire for individuals focused on wellness. This may translate to plant-based, protein-rich or dietary-specific items holding greater influence on menus. Operators should be keen to take note of this major lifestyle shift.

Operators need to lean into functionality across both food and beverage. Whether it’s emerging trends like CBD, the immediate need for immune-enhancing vitamins in beverages or something as simple as satiety through use of a product like lentils that has protein and fiber, operators can capitalize on a variety of strategies. One idea is the simple tactic taken by smoothie shops of adding immunity, protein, or cognitive boosts to beverages. Another is the notion of building dishes packed with vegetables known to have immunity-boosting vitamins. Think of it as the new definition of a power bowl.

Operators can leverage this trend by repositioning existing menu options and creating new wellness-focused innovations. Highlighting fruits and vegetables in all forms should be a primary focus. In addition, exploring opportunities to highlight fermented foods (pickles, yogurt, kombucha, sourdough, etc.) increases both flavor and interest among wellness-focused consumers.

There is a big opportunity to make healthy menu items genuinely delicious. If we make immune-boosting food that is not craveable, it will have no legs once we arise from the pandemic. But embracing healthy foods in crafting creative, memorable meals will strongly benefit menus for the long run.

Immunity is the new protein in functional messaging. As consumers seek more control of their wellness and health goals, and as more options become available to them, the desire for delicious and craveable immunity-boosting food will only continue to grow.