Consumers—especially millennials and Gen Z—see fresh, crisp, vibrant food as a real value. Create your own fresh entrée that’s heavy on the leafy greens, like this salad from Marin Country Day School.
Kikkoman Sales USA, Inc.
Yes, avocado toast is still cool! Try combining avocado with a high-protein component, as shown here with tuna by Chef Harold Jurado of Bon Appetit Management Co.
Eating to feel good
Studies have shown that self care is now the No. 1 reason people snack. Help your customers care for themselves by incorporating superfoods (some are commodity items you may already have on hand) like sweet potatoes.
Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute
Bowls are the new plates. Buddha bowls, grain bowls, salad bowls and poke bowls (shown here) are trending big time. Check out this Mexican Buddha bowl from Avocados from Mexico.
Don’t just build your own; craft your own
Greenville Country Schools
This mahi rice bowl debuted last year at Greenville County Schools, and it can be customized, another thing young customers value highly.
Hawaiian food is ono (delicious)
The cuisine of Hawaii is ready to trend, as seen here at Brigham Young University’s award-winning Hawaiian-themed-concept. Try adding canned pineapple and teriyaki to chicken and rice as a jumping-off point for this trend.
Chicken sandwiches rule
“We created this sandwich,” West said during the presentation, giving credit where it’s due to school lunch professionals. He said it’s time to take that and run with it in terms of marketing your own chicken sandwich: “When was the last time you named a chicken sandwich?”
Indian food shines in fast-casual form
American taste buds have been waking up to Indian food, and the way that it’s happening is through the familiar fast-casual format. Try handheld, speed-scratch ideas like par-baked flatbread topped with tandoori chicken and premade sauce.
Breakfast/brunch for lunch
The #Hash concept at Restaurant Associates’ corporate accounts is an example of the brunch anytime trend. Kids go wild for breakfast for lunch, so blurring the dayparts on your menu could be a great idea with items like this Denver omelet bowl.
Fun with hot dogs (and buns)
Hot dogs are definitely hot, trend-wise. The wilder the toppings, the better. This werewolf dog from Dat Dog in New Orleans is a great example. And extra points for thinking outside the bun with this low-carb leaf of Romaine for the “greenie weenie” style.
The year of the slush
This frozen rosé (frozé) was spotted at the National Restaurant Association’s annual tradeshow in Chicago. While obviously K-12 applications will go the nonalcoholic route, it’s a great idea to market your fresh fruit smoothies to the max.
Cool Asian-inspired desserts
This fun dessert item from Pokewan, a restaurant with several locations in Southern California, could easily be recreated using an ordinary churro.
Starbucks caused a social media sparkle-storm last spring when the Unicorn Frappucino was introduced...
Natural rainbow food
The Humane Society of the United States
…but a great way to pick up on the rainbow-food trend can be done naturally, like with this rainbow hummus wrap recipe developed by the Humane Society of the United States.