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Top Ten Food Trends for 2024

As the year unfolds, how and what we’re eating and what we will be eating morphs, changes, develops and expands.

At its core is the focus on creating quality experiences that keep bringing customers back for more comfort, joy and good food.

At Open Pantry we provide the world's first free restaurant management software. Our restaurant management system streamlines your supply ordering processes to keep you at the top of your game.

Staying at the top of your game means knowing what’s happening in our industry so, we’ve put together some trends we feel can’t be ignored.



1. Bug Burgers

There’s been talk about eating insects, in a more mainstream context, for many years and achieving environmentally sustainable food security – which eating bugs can provide – is one of the biggest global challenges we have.

Edible insect species, with high contents in protein, fat, vitamins and fibre, can play a significant role in addressing food insecurity.

While it still may be a while off to be ordering a bug burger at your franchise drive-through – bugs on a restaurant menu are trickling down into broader menus across many markets.

2. The Hotel Bar

High-end snacks – mud crab sandwiches, just-shucked oysters, caviar for days – and suited staff that keep us feeling glamorous without breaking the bank.

That’s the key to the surge of hotels bars and their fancy offerings. Staying at a hotel for a night or two in your hometown – aka the staycation - became more popular during the pandemic which saw Australian hotels increasingly turning their attention to expanding their offerings far beyond good bed linen and room service. Both major and boutique hotels are tapping into industry professional advice, from design experts to award-winning bartenders to curate bars and bar food as luxurious as the accommodation on offer.

3. A Table!

Guéridon or trolley service is slowly creeping into the dining rooms of the country. It may be a drinks trolley, or perhaps, cheese or carving trolleys. But wheeling up to the guest’s table and having a waiter pour, slice, cook, finish a dish and chat to the customer will add to the niche market that fine dining is, allowing venues to stand out with hyper-personalised service.

4. The Meta-Verse

In April 2022, American burger giant Wendy’s introduced The Wendyverse as a major play by Meta to connect brands and consumers in the metaverse.

Tapping into Phygital marketing – a method of marketing that combines digital and physical strategies to curate unique experiences for consumers - Wendy’s offered vouchers, special deals and experiences that only those in the Metaverse could access. How long will it be before this narrative and opportunity moves into smaller and more diverse dining offerings?

5. Eat the Problem

We’ve all heard of eating the problem; taking pests and feral animals and putting them on menus to reduce their rapidly producing populations. To help save the land, native plants, soil and the farms on which the industry relies, utilising feral animals for eating is a logical and straightforward solution.

Rabbits, goats, buffalos, pigs and camels degrade natural habitats by intensive or selective grazing, and we expect to see some of these animals more commonly on menus in the next 12 months.

6. Seaweed and Sea Grasses on the Menu

Seaweed is already widely used across many cuisines and is only on the increase. Along with other sea grasses, they are the most sustainable crops that don’t require land to grow and while being rich in abundance of nutrients, such as iodine, magnesium, iron, vitamin B12 also tastes great, with just the right umami hit and capacity as a subtle seasoning agent.

7. Get Retro

The prawn cocktail and devilled eggs made a return a few years ago but the pandemic had us yearning for more and more comfort, which – for some – is the classic ‘Australian’ food of the 60s and 70s.

The vol au vent, filled with mushroom velouté, or sauteed chicken popped up on menus across the country, Aspic jelly with seafood and veg wobbled across tables and we can’t wait to see more duck a l’orange and dare we say it, Apricot Chicken, but fruit and meat in many guises will certainly have a resurgence in a contemporary context.

8. Be Kind

It’s time that kindness ruled the dining room floor, staff to customers and customers to staff. Bullying and harassment will not be tolerated. We already know that humans thrive in a non-stressful and kind environment. Food tastes better too when created in a stress-free kitchen. Arrogance is out and – we know it will take time – but just as a customer reviews a restaurant on-line, could it be time for the restaurant to review the customer?

9. Interactive Food Experiences

Staying on an emotive topic, food is not only nourishment but is full of nostalgia, memory and joy. Melbourne-based, The Exertion Games Lab, have designed ice cream that can “sing”. The ‘We Scream’ is a social interactive ice cream experience. You take a bite of the ice cream, and the cone makes a musical sound that can only make you smile. The team behind it want to bring joy and happiness to eating and have you playing with your food. We’ll be seeing more of this.

10. Booze-free Banter 

Whatever the reason is for not drinking alcohol, more and more people are choosing not to partake which has seen the non-alcoholic drinks space growing exponentially. The already strong sector is making a dent in the booze businesses of many pubs and bars. Get ready for a stream of non-alcoholic bars for the sober and the untapped sector – the sober-curious. According to the Statista report on Non-Alcoholic Drinks in Australia, the average volume per person in the Non-Alcoholic Drinks market in Australia is expected to amount to 178.60L in 2023.

The sector’s revenue amounts to US$21.32bn in 2023. The market is expected to grow annually by 3.90% (Compound Annual Growth Rate 2023-2027).

Those are some sobering thoughts.

The world is in constant change and movement but at Open Pantry we offer a steady vision and support. Manage your restaurant orders easily, cost your menus and track your inventory with Open Pantry’s free restaurant management system. Here’s to the future!

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Posted on: February 2, 2024
Posted By: Geoff Philcox

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