CHICAGO — Research and analytics company Technomic expects on-premises dining to continue to bounce back as consumers yearn for in-person experiences despite financial difficulties.
The forecast comes from Technomic’s “What We Foresee for 2023” report, a collection of the company’s predictions for foodservice industry trends in the upcoming year.
"The industry is expected to face some stumbling blocks going into 2023, led by weakened consumer sentiment and ongoing pricing difficulties," said Joe Pawlak, managing principal for Technomic's advisory group. "But as the year progresses, the situation is expected to moderate, and the industry will benefit with stronger sales and traffic."
While inflation and heightened interest rates have created the threat of a possible recession, Technomic’s first trend predicts the impact on the foodservice industry to be relatively mild. The company estimates rising grocery prices will help close the value gap between dining at home or at a restaurant, incentivizing consumers to eat out. Additionally, while visit frequency may decrease, consumers will be more likely to maximize each visit and spend more on each meal.
Technomic also expects on-premises dining levels to continue growing following pandemic-related restrictions and social distancing. The company’s second trend cites the return from remote work, general increases in travel and lengthier pick-up order times as primary factors that make on-site dining more appealing.
The company’s third trend sees the growth of high-margin, highly comforting grain products, like breads and pastas, across the industry in 2023. Increased versatility with flour will allow food providers to innovate on traditional dishes and global cuisines, and grains applications will expand into new meals and dayparts. Millet and teff also will see an increase in usage as gluten-free alternatives.
Another trend in the company’s report is an increase in fermenting and pickling. Technomic expects to see an explosion of new pickled applications, including proteins, french fries, herbs and nuts, as well as new uses for commonly pickled ingredients.
Pink foods and drinks also will be on the rise with new and old recipes taking hold in 2023. Strawberry purees and dragon fruit have already begun popping up on menus across the industry, and flavors like bubblegum and funfetti will capture the increased demand for nostalgic tastes. Other rosy products in 2023 include twists on traditional staples, like pink pineapples, salt, celery and peas, and emerging ingredients such as schisandra berries and cara cara oranges with a pink center.