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Top 10 menu trend stories of 2021

The year’s top stories on new menu items, the cuisines to crave, the trends that mattered most, emerging new directions and more.

When thinking of food trends of the past year, it’s hard not to slip into cliches: “Necessity is the mother of invention” or even “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” With supply chain and labor issues, the foodservice industry has taken a lickin’ this year! But chefs, cooks, managers and directors are still happily tickin’ with innovation, cool new ideas and survival-mode tactics that have ended up being pretty delicious in spite of everything this year may have thrown at them, personally, professionally and as an industry as a whole. Resilience is the keyword, but so is hospitality, still at the core of what these folks do best.

The trends fast-forwarded by the pandemic, such as technology, mobile ordering, touchless dining experiences, one-bowl meals, plant-based menus, picnic-ready fare, classical French cuisine’s comeback, cozy comfort food, pop-ups, wellness-boosting ingredients, virtual chef events, sustainability and grab-and-go have stuck around and evolved, and it’s certainly been quite a ride. As we get ready to put this year in the books, let’s take a look back at the food trends that shaped 2021.

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