Tap Into Food Trends: A Guide to Buzzworthy Menus

With the growing influence of social media, the way that we consume food is changing. Trends can spring up in New York and be popular in Sydney by the end of the week, and the buzz created around these trends is not something to be missed out on. By integrating these food fads into your own menus, or even doing one-off events celebrating the wacky diets or products that people become obsessed with, you can increase your profile on social media and spread through social circles in real life by doing something a little different. We’ve rounded up the top three trends that are universally popular at the moment, and what you can do to pull in the crowds and create buzz around your brand, as well as drive up income.

Eat Like a Caveman

The Paleo diet, in a nutshell, is eating nothing that a caveman couldn’t eat. This trend is aimed towards moving back to how early humans ate, so plenty of meat, eggs, nuts, leafy green and regional vegetables, seeds and fish. There’s nothing processed, so that rules out things like sugar and chocolate, but it even cuts out grains like rice, pasta, and bread, as they involve cultivation and processing before you’re able to eat it. Proponents of the diet love it as you don’t have to count calories, and it helps build a lean, muscular physique.

The great thing is, you probably already offer a lot for paleo eaters, so it’s easier than you’d think to tweak your menu to offer perfect, protein-packed dishes.

  • Try serving your normal steaks, medium-rare, with plenty of yummy, locally-sourced vegetables like broccoli, kale and asparagus.
  • Serve up a tasty spinach and salmon salad with avocado, celery, tomatoes and some almonds or toasted pine nuts. It’s a colourful dish that’ll be loved by those who aren’t following the diet, and will be worshipped by those who are!
  • You can even serve up paleo dessert options. Create something with plenty of the favourite foods of cavemen, like the paleo sticky date pudding cupcakes, and make sure you use gluten-free coconut flour, as this light, tasty option can even be targeted at gluten-free diners (which is also a big trend at the moment, even for those not sensitive to gluten.) The Riverbank in Nottingham is noted for its great gluten-free options that would suit the paleo diet (we love the chargrilled tiger prawns on their mains menu), so if you already serve food like this it’s great to market yourself as paleo-friendly.

Gluten Free Cupcake Recipe

Drink Your Veggies

It was one of the big crazes of 2013, and shows no signs of slowing down. The idea behind it is to pulp up all of your vegetables and fruits into a smoothie or juice so you can pack in as many of your five a day as possible. Some people even do juice cleanses, where you just drink this for days on end, to try and boost their overall health.

While they jury’s out on just how good juicing all of your meals is for you, it’s still a craze with many casual users, so you can tap into the trend by offering some juices which people can enjoy with their meals, as a meal replacement or even as a dessert! Popular ingredients include kale, carrots, spinach, apples, oranges and beetroot, as well as chucking in a handful of protein-filled flax-seeds or oats for a bit more texture. It’s ideal for restaurants and cafes to offer this, as evidence shows that many people will impulse-buy healthy food just as much as junk! All you’ll need is a blender if you just want to try it out, but a juicer is a great bit of kit to invest in if you want smoother, tastier concoctions.

You could offer a variety of options to please the uninitiated and the juice fanatics. A beginners option could be something like an apple, pear and cherry smoothie packed with vitamins. More experienced juicers love the low-sugar vegetable juices, so try offering a detoxifying green juice with kale, broccoli and carrots, with an apple to sweeten the mixture.

Juice cleanse diet

Locally Sourced Everything

Among all the individual top foods of 2014, including the two above, a top buzzword is ‘local’. Diners increasingly want to be able to trace their food to ensure the ingredients are ethically sourced as well as environmentally sustainable. The top restaurant in the world, Noma in Copenhagen, has been praised for making the most of local seaweed, foraged fungi and freshly caught fish in its innovative menus.

You don’t have to go as far as scouring the nearby woods for mushrooms, but taking a few steps to ensure that you buy local produce will ensure diners will love your food. Try going to local farmers markets and striking up agreements with people in your community, as it’ll save on the foods air miles as well as making sure it’s fresh. It may even work out cheaper for you to use local producers, and it’ll help build up a sense of community, for rural country pub restaurants as well as city centre venues.

For visibility, make sure that your diners know where their ingredients come from, using words and phrases which point to their origin like Derbyshire lamb if you’re in the country, or mentioning on your menu which farm all of your potatoes come from. CAST at the Nottingham Playhouse has enjoyed success from its locally-sourced menu, where diners enjoy the great use fresh, regional ingredients in dishes.

It doesn’t have to all be about fruit and veg, either, as the fantastic Fothergills in Nottingham showcases the best of locally brewed ale, and the Farndon Boathouse grows its own herbs in at the back of the restaurant as well as smoking a lot of their meats and fish in-house.

Where to buy local fruit and veg

Zeitgeist Ingredients

Just to round things off, here’s a few things (from the superfoods to naught treats) that you can include in dishes if you want to be on-trend without designing a whole new menu. These items are most searched for online, create a buzz on social media platforms like Instagram and Tumblr, and will help attract a younger, more trend-driven crowd. They’re all handily pictured above, but if you need some help, here’s a list of the trends pictured (left to right)

Deep fried everything // Churros // Cronut // Beetroot //Pizza // Ramen noodles // Peanut Butter // Kale //Cupcakes // Tortilla Chips or Nachos // Bacon // Nutella

What are your favourite food fads? Which do you think will last, or are worth investing in? Let us know with a comment below!

Image Credits: Just Juice, Eat Drink Paleo, the Telegraph, Zaynab.
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