The future is here. And the landscape of foodservice is changing at a rate pretty much never seen before. Largely, these changes are driven by consumer preferences. In some cases, they're driven by economics. In others, still, changes are driven by technologies and innovations.
As we look toward 2019 here in Virginia and Maryland, we wanted to create a conversation starter on what the coming year might look like. Here are the three foodservice trends we feel will be the most impactful.
CUSTOM AND CONVENIENT
One of the biggest contributors to foodservice trends is demographics. Younger generations value the idea of individualized experiences that are created custom to their preferences. Menus reflect transparency and choice. Dietary concerns, health, and nutrition also play a role. In fact, there are even meal supply companies looking to create custom meals based on the feedback consumers get from genetic testing. Talk about the future.
Technology obviously plays a huge role when it comes to custom and convenient, and this is the one area where innovation and consumer preference are coming together. Virtual restaurants, online delivery services, and ordering kiosks are just a few ways technology is helping costumers save time by adding an element of convenience. We expect this trend to only strengthen in coming years, as more and more of the foodservice world is automated.
Just as our food preferences diversify, so must the spaces in which we process those foods. Simply put, operators are going to need to do more with less as kitchen spaces shrink and rents go up.
Foodservice equipment can help bridge this gap. With units that perform multiple functions within the same footprint or cooking devices that can be placed on a countertop without the need for hoods or vents, operators will be more prepared to make maximum profit from every square foot available.
REDUCING FOOD WASTE
This has been an important trend for several years, particularly after the release of Wasted! The Story of Food Waste, which was produced by the late Anthony Bourdain. Now more than ever, though, it's becoming a priority, and the big reason is simple. Money.
Reducing waste is profitable on multiple fronts. First of all, Americans waste one-third of our food supply. This well-documented fact is like opening our wallets every day and flushing one-third of our money down the drain. On the other hand, though, reducing food waste is profitable because it's popular. In fact, more consumers than ever are looking for establishments that follow more sustainable habits such as reducing food waste within the operation.