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.