Keeping up with ever-evolving food trends isn’t always easy, especially in a healthcare setting. What trends are sticking around from 2021? What trends will the New Year bring?
Today, we’ll be breaking down our trend forecasts and showcasing how to successfully translate them into healthcare facilities, senior living communities, and college campuses.
Prediction 1: The Classics
“In 2021, we saw a lot of popularity with comfort food, especially in the spaces that we serve,” says Dirk Noteboom, President of Culinary in Healthcare and Senior Living for HHS. “So, I predict it will carry on into 2022.”
Grocery giant, Kroger, predicts that plant-based takes on classic comfort foods will steal the spotlight in 2022.
Nostalgic flavors resurged in popularity last year. Given the unpredictability of 2021, it’s no surprise that re-imagined comfort food took the year by storm. Putting a spin on old familiar favorites to make them fresh, new, and exciting became a practice for restaurants and grocery stores across the country.
This trend is catching on in healthcare facilities, too, where patients and visitors are often searching for comfort. With this in mind, our chefs developed The Great Grilled Cheeserie, a comfort food concept that provides customers with 30+ grilled cheese options and an unlimited variety of toppings, condiments, and combinations.
Prediction 2: Multi-Cultural
The nonprofit International Food Information Council’s March 2021 survey found that 23% of respondents had experimented with different cuisines and flavors since the start of the pandemic.
It’s no secret that fusion-type cuisine has become a pillar on most menus today. Consumers have adventured outside of the usual European-inspired options and have begun exploring Asian and Hispanic-inspired flavors, which we predict will only increase in popularity in 2022.
Noteboom says, “I think that’s because there are such a wide variety of ingredients that people aren’t familiar with and are really starting to understand and enjoy in a lot of cross-cultural cuisines.”
One way we’ve incorporated these global flavors into the spaces that we serve is through our new culinary program, FlavorPort. The concept provides customers access to unique dishes from all around the world created using fresh, made-from-scratch ingredients.
“FlavorPort is an opportunity for us to bring flavorful, tasty, and exciting foods to our customers. This is the same experience that they would get if they visited a food truck outside of the hospital,” - says Karl Sukley, Vice President of Culinary Operations at HHS.
Some of the FlavorPort concepts include:
Southwest — a fusion of Mexican cuisine and tastes from the Southwestern United States.
Pizzacana — more than just pizza, it features tasty, handheld twists on Italian classics.
Famous Franks — both classic combinations and totally customizable hot dog options.
FareFest — taking customers on a nostalgic food journey reminiscent of the fairs and carnivals they attended as kids.
Prediction 3: Consumer-Driven Sustainability
Now more than ever before, people want to know that their food is ethically sourced and processed.
Though sustainability has always been a hot topic, 2021 served as the launching pad for a more wide range of sustainable food options. Incorporating plant-based dishes or ethically raised meat options onto your menu is a win-win for you and your consumer.
This contributed to Global Bowls, a culinary initiative developed by HHS to incorporate authentic, diverse flavors while promoting health and wellness.
Through this, customers can build their Global Bowl by combining six main components: base, protein, vegetables, sauce, crunch, and garnish.
Base — this includes either grain, rice, greens, broth, noodles, or a combination.
Protein — any protein, including vegan protein options.
Vegetables — vegetables serve as the bulk of the Global Bowl and features different cutting, chopping, and cooking techniques.
Sauce — sauce incorporates moisture and flavor and compliments the existing recipe.
Crunch — nuts, fried noodles, and raw vegetables provide crunch and texture.
Garnish — fresh herbs, pickled vegetables, or spice blends help crown the dish.
To build upon sustainability efforts, we partnered with the Humane Society of the United States to offer plant-based options under our Sustainabowl concept, which features plant-based Global Bowl options.
The past year brought a lingering pandemic, momentum for social justice movements, and the normalization of digital communication through mediums such as social media and video conferencing.
It’s our belief that as these factors continue to play a role in our society, they will continue to impact the foods people eat — comfort food for those dealing with the effects of the pandemic, a commitment from consumers to eat ethically sourced and sustainable foods, and a curiosity of new dishes and ingredients from around the world.