16 Food and Drink Trends for 2023
With the new year in full swing, it’s the perfect time to step outside your culinary comfort zone and try one of the many food and drink trends making the rounds right now. Of course, not all trends stand the test of time, but there are quite a few that are in it for the long haul.
Without further ado, here are what restaurateurs, bartenders and other industry pros predict will be the biggest food and beverage trends of 2023.
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2023 Food & Drink Trends
1. Plant-Based Protein Innovations (Including Seafood!)
With the increasing shift toward people wanting to make healthier choices for themselves and the environment, more plant-based protein options are available than ever before, says Adriano Paganini, founder and operator of Back of the House in San Francisco.
“Eating plant-based is no longer fringe—and with our three plant-based restaurants, we see that a lot of our guests are not die-hard vegans, but they want to make different dining choices throughout the week,” he says. “I only see this trend increasing, especially as plant-based ingredients and replacements become more readily available and more delicious.”
One new plant-based protein that should be on your radar for 2023? Seafood, says Carmen Rossi, restaurateur of 8 Hospitality in Chicago. “Trust and transparency are important factors in consumer considerations—and as they become more educated and aware of sensitive food systems, we should expect to see alternative seafood ingredients and protein-based substitute options of meat alternatives with plant-based ingredients on the menus,” he says.
2. Low- and No-ABV Drinks Reign Supreme
“It has already been gaining traction, but the low- and no-ABV drinking scene is going to explode in full force,” says Hebert Moreira, restaurant and bar manager at Gabriel Kreuther in New York City. “Around the U.S., a few no-alcohol bars have already popped up and the standard and quality will continue to increase.” Hilary Sheinbaum, the author of The Dry Challenge, says to expect tasting menus to have non-alcoholic pairings on their menus this coming year.
You’ll also find more (and better!) NA options, including wines, hit store shelves this year, says Lauren Gonzalez, founder and owner of Lolo Pass in Portland and wine and spirits expert. “With such a massive potential market, look for more and more brands vying for shelf space,” she says.
3. Retro Foods That Remind You of Childhood
According to Whole Foods’ 2023 Foods Trend Report, nostalgia and retro food items are making a major comeback. From mac and cheese to pizza bites to classic old-school cereals, you’ll see your childhood favorites back at the grocery store.
Nostalgia will be especially big when it comes to sweets. “Whether it be to reclaim your childhood, relive better times, or simply that we now think sweeter is better, nostalgic flavors will be a strong trend in 2023,” says Nicole Patel, owner and chocolatier of Delysia Chocolate.
Related: Best Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe
4. Dates to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
It’s no surprise Whole Foods chose dates as a top ingredient for 2023. Dates went viral on TikTok in 2022 when a creator posted a recipe for a Snickers-like concoction using the healthy Middle Eastern fruit often referred to as “nature’s candy.” (Drool.)
“Look for new varieties other than Medjool to make their way into the market and into people’s hearts and palates, including Halawi, Khadrawi, Mazafati and Barhi,” says Mareya Ibrahim, author of Eat Like You Give A Fork: The Real Dish on Eating to Thrive.
5. Immersive Dining Experiences
“I predict 2023 will be the year of immersive dining experiences,” says JJ Johnson, chef of FIELDTRIP in New York City. What exactly will these experiences entail? “Dinner theater is going to be it,” says Sam Bakhshandehpour, co-owner of The Electric Jane in Nashville. “Live music, tableside service, other forms of entertainment or a show—whether on your plate or on the stage, it’s going to be the key in 2023.”
Brands also want to give you that experiential element in 2023. For example, Doritos After Dark was a recent immersive late-night dining experience that featured globally-inspired bites made with classic Doritos flavors. This campaign stemmed from the PepsiCo Foodservice Digital Labs offering that launched in November 2022.
6. Avocado Snacks and Desserts
“We’re not done with avocado toast, but it will continue to evolve and take new creative forms,” says Emily Murphy, director of merchandising, specialty and dairy, for Baldor Specialty Foods, one of the largest distributors of fresh produce and specialty foods in the northeast and mid-Atlantic. Instead of bread, she says, serve your avo on sweet potato slices for an updated take on a classic.
Avocado-based desserts will also become a thing this year, according to Baldor. The company reports that it’s seen an increase in avocado-based items, including sweets—and avocados continue to be one of their top-selling produce items. Avocado pudding, FTW!
Related: 70 Best Avocado Recipes
7. The Next Generation of Non-Milk Milks
The next generation of “not milk” is ready for its closeup in 2023. Murphy cites Hope and Sesame sesame milk, as well as Táche, a pistachio milk, as two popular options that Baldor recently added to its mix. Both brands are women-led and have sustainable business practices.
Murphy says reduced- and low-sugar dairy alternatives—which are already popular in Europe—will also get hot in the U.S. “In the European market, you’re seeing more and more consumer products that are either sugar-free or low sugar because people want to control their sweeteners and also opt for alternative sweeteners,” she says.
8. Climate-Conscious Food and Drink Production
As Whole Foods notes, climate consciousness and sustainability efforts are more relevant than ever. This goes not only for products at the grocery store but for what’s served at restaurants and bars.
“There is only one direction for culinary trends to go in 2023, and that is adopting climate-conscious methods to minimize the environmental impact of food, as well as increasing the use of local and seasonal products to reduce carbon footprint,” says Ricardo Cera, executive chef at the Fairmont El San Juan Hotel. “Organic and sustainable markets will only continue to grow as the younger generation of chefs and consumers are more aware of the impact of factory farming and the mass production of food on the environment.”
Look for more sustainable bar programs too. James Baugh, food and beverage director at TMC Hospitality’s Drift and Bode Hotels, says a zero-waste bar includes using all aspects of ingredients featured on a menu—all the way down to the citrus peel and pineapple rind. “When correctly done, many of these items can be used for shrubs, cordials, syrups, fermentation or even cross-utilized in the kitchen,” he says.
9. Beverages as Medicine
“There’s been a sea-change in the public and private sectors around preventative medicine and ‘food as medicine’—or in OLIPOP’s case, ‘beverage as medicine,’” says Ben Goodwin, founder, CEO and formulator of OLIPOP, a functional soda that’s infused with botanicals, prebiotics and other good-for-you-ingredients.
Goodwin explains that the White House recently held its first summit on hunger and nutrition in 53 years, with one of the topics being food as medicine. More research in this space will allow brands to insert themselves into this powerful movement, he says.
Alcohol is also getting a medicinal boost with some brands adding antioxidants and extracts to their spirits. Yael Vengroff, head of bars and mixology at Katsuya and S Bar, says alcoholic sips like Origen Holistic Vodka are backed by plant science and utilize specific antioxidants and extracts to make for an easier time metabolizing and processing the spirit in your body. “I believe this will lead to a new chapter of ‘flavored’ spirits that I am calling ‘functional flavors,’” she says.
10. Chocolate Charcuterie Boards
Move over, butter boards! Patel says the charcuterie board trend is poised to be bigger than ever in 2023 with the addition of chocolate to the mix. “From chocolate truffles studded throughout to chocolate barks replacing traditional crackers, the sweetness of chocolate contrasts beautifully against the pungent flavors of cheeses and salamis,” she says.
Related: This Bacon and Cheddar Charcuterie Board Is About to Be Your Go-To Snack Spread
11. More Ways to Enjoy Tinned Fish
“During the pandemic, consumers turned to tinned seafood as a convenient, shelf-stable way to enjoy their favorite dishes they could no longer access at dine-in restaurants,” explains Charlotte Langley, the chief culinary officer of Scout, a canned seafood brand.
In 2023, this trend will expand into different types of fish. “We predict a rise in the consumption of canned seafood, especially species lower on the food chain like sardines, anchovies and mackerel,” says Heather Scott, SVP of marketing at Wild Planet. “This is being driven largely by a cultural zeitgeist celebrating the wonderful world of tinned fish.”
Restaurants are even getting in on the tinned fish fun. “Whether it’s the addition of Spanish and Portugese-inspired conservas on menus of some of the country’s most popular restaurants or the introduction of ‘sea-cuterie’ snack boards and ‘tinned fish date nights’ on TikTok, consumers of all ages are discovering–and rediscovering—how exciting, delicious, heart-healthy and nutrient-rich canned seafood can be,” says Scott.
12. Filipino Food Makes a Splash
“Many people don’t know the depth of Filipino food, but I think we will see that cuisine making a big splash across the country,” predicts Hunter Evans, owner-chef at Elvie’s in Jackson, Mississippi. “I have a really talented chef de cuisine who has a Filipino background and he is cooking some really flavorful and unique dishes to bring to our menu.”
Leah Cohen, chef and co-owner of Pig & Khao and Piggyback by Pig & Khao, echoes this sentiment, noting that the Filipino restaurant Kasama in Chicago received a Michelin star in 2022. (BRB, just stuffing our faces with lumpia!)
13. Nutrient-Dense Pasta
According to Whole Foods, “produce meets pasta” is poised to have a breakout year.
Specifically, for pasta that is designed to work for people on high-protein, low-carb and ketogenic diets that won’t fall apart in the water when they’re boiled, says Ibrahim. (Finally!) “They taste great and deliver real nutrition, some with added nutrient-dense vegetables like sweet potatoes and greens,” she says. “Look for brands that use whey, pulses and beans for added protein.”
14. Kelp in Everything
Whole Foods named kelp as one of its top food trends because it’s a sustainable ingredient that absorbs carbon in the environment, grows quickly, doesn’t require freshwater and is incredibly nutritious and versatile. Seriously, what can’t kelp do?
“The number of products using kelp will continue to skyrocket as it’s so sustainable, full of plant-based protein — which is still a hot double-digit trendsetter — and is powerful in supporting healthy thyroid function and weight loss,” says Ibrahim. “Look for products made with kelp in every aisle and in supplements too, from kelp burgers to shrimp, vinegar to hot sauce, seaweed salad to kelp noodles—and kelp strips to add to your meals.”
15. Tequila, Tequila and More Tequila
According to market research, tequila has seen significant growth in bars and restaurants across the country in recent years—and it’s not about to slow down any time soon.
“Working with a tequila company, YaVe Tequila, I’ve seen a tremendous amount of tequilas entering the market as well as traditional brands gaining momentum in popularity,” says Amanda Guillen, co-founder and chief creative strategist at the Creative Junkies Agency, a Brooklyn-based boutique marketing agency. “Tequila will 100% dominate the spirits industry in 2023, especially to female drinkers who used to drink vodka but want more of a flavor profile.” We’ll cheers to that!
16. Mushroom Mania
Finally, one last ingredient that is going to be everywhere in 2023 is the beloved mushroom. “Mushrooms continue to have their day as the ultimate superfood, in everything from soups to coffee or just simply on their own,” says Jason Leckey, executive chef of Ruby & Bella’s in Greenwich, Connecticut.
“Their meaty texture is a great alternative to meat in dishes such as mushroom-based Bolognese. I currently have a porcini mushroom stroganoff as a special at Ruby & Bella’s—it’s delicious.” Evans adds that as our foodways continue to change the way we eat meat, he predicts we’ll see a lot of people turning to cook all sorts of mushrooms.
- Adriano Paganini, founder and operator of Back of the House in San Francisco
- Carmen Rossi, restaurateur of 8 Hospitality in Chicago
- Hebert Moreira, restaurant and bar manager at Gabriel Kreuther in New York City
- Hilary Sheinbaum, author of The Dry Challenge
- Lauren Gonzalez, founder and owner of Lolo Pass in Portland and wine and spirits expert
- Nicole Patel, owner and chocolatier of Delysia Chocolate
- Mareya Ibrahim, author of Eat Like You Give A Fork: The Real Dish on Eating to Thrive
- JJ Johnson, chef of FIELDTRIP in New York City
- Sam Bakhshandehpour, co-owner of The Electric Jane in Nashville
- Emily Murphy, director of merchandising, specialty and dairy, for Baldor Specialty Foods
- Ricardo Cera, executive chef at the Fairmont El San Juan Hotel
- James Baugh, food and beverage director at TMC Hospitality’s Drift and Bode Hotels
- Ben Goodwin, founder, CEO and formulator of OLIPOP
- Yael Vengroff, head of bars and mixology at Katsuya and S Bar
- Heather Scott, SVP of marketing at Wild Planet
- Charlotte Langley, chief culinary officer of Scout
- Hunter Evans, owner and chef at Elvie’s in Jackson, Mississippi
- Leah Cohen, chef and co-owner of Pig & Khao and Piggyback by Pig & Khao
- Amanda Guillen, co-founder and chief creative strategist at the Creative Junkies Agency
- Jason Leckey, executive chef of Ruby & Bella’s in Greenwich, Connecticut