Indulge in Mini Desserts, Embrace Reducetarianism, and Savor Superfoods: The Hottest Food Trends of the Year

What Food Trends Are Hot This Year?

From a new pressure cooker to a popular charcuterie board, it seems like there’s a food trend popping up every week. While some fads pass quickly (like the balsamic coke trend), others stick around.

Whether you’re looking to improve your culinary skills or want to make your restaurant more profitable, following trends is essential. Here are some of the biggest food trends this year.

Mini Desserts

As the economic squeeze takes hold and dietary restrictions increase, operators are turning to mini desserts to satisfy customer demand. These bite-sized treats are ideal for sharing and allow diners to control their portion sizes, so they can indulge in a little more without the guilt.

Global flavours also feature heavily in dessert trends this year. Menu mentions of churros, pots de creme, mochi, and halva are up and grabbing attention as consumers seek out exotic twists on traditional dessert favourites.

Cakes are being Frankensteined, with the fusion of brownie and cookie, and baklava and cheesecake leading the way. Other popular options include gin and tonic trifles, lemon swiss roll cupcakes, and buttercream daisy cakes. Unleash your inner Bake Off contestant with Lakeland’s floral icing cutter set to create these showstopper treats.


Amid the COVID-19 panic and a desire to expand palates, many consumers began limiting meat intake this year. This trend, dubbed reducetarianism, focuses on thoughtful moderation rather than going completely vegan or vegetarian, allowing plant-curious eaters to help the environment without eliminating animal products entirely.

A number of companies have sprung up to produce vegan meat substitutes, from fish-free burgers made with mushroom roots and coconut fiber to grilled cheeses that are made with nut cheese instead of dairy. With the emergence of these foods, it will no longer be a surprise to see restaurants and shops offering a selection of vegetarian and vegan options on their menus in 2024.

A similar shift will be seen in beverages, with floral flavors like elderflower and lavender adding a light profile to sweet bakes and drinks. Look for herbal and earthy botanical spirits like hibiscus to be used as cocktail bases, too. It’s a great way to add a pop of flavor and a touch of sophistication to classic cocktails.


Food trends are much like fashion trends, only with more of a focus on culinary wellness. Staying on top of these trends can help restaurants reconnect with their consumers and play a part in the wider food narrative.

Cauliflower continues to be a menu staple as diners turn to the plant for its gut-health benefits, immunity-boosting properties and low carbohydrate content. It’s also found in gnocchi, pizza crust and even mac and cheese.

Umami paste, or the “fifth taste” is another ingredient to watch this year. The savory condiment can boost the flavor of meatless dishes without any added meat. As supply chain issues make meats pricier and harder to come by, restaurants will continue to offer tasty plant-based alternatives. Also look for no-waste food trends like nose-to-tail cooking and upcycling recipes that use ingredients that would otherwise be discarded. These innovations can help reduce a restaurant’s carbon footprint and bolster sustainability efforts.


While superfoods aren’t magic pills that cure diseases, they are packed with nutrient-dense foods. These foods are high in antioxidants, fiber, and healthy fats that help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. They’re also high in vitamins and minerals that boost the immune system.

According to research reports, the growing demand for superfoods is attributed to several factors including lower nutrient levels in regular food, the use of higher inorganic substances in agriculture, and people’s increased participation in physical activities. The superfoods market is expected to grow at a satisfactory rate in the coming years.

Whole Foods Market’s 2024 trend report suggests that simple, protein-forward products like tempeh, mushrooms, and legumes will steal the spotlight from complex meat alternatives that feature a long list of ingredients. In addition, expect to see more dairy alternatives, including milk made from oats and macadamia nuts. These alternatives offer more flavor, are easier to digest, and have a lower carbon footprint.

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Food Trends: Nut-Free Butters, Cactus Water, Veggie Bowls, Matcha, and Poke Bowls

Current Food Trends

A new generation of cooks is eager to learn to make the most of their food. This includes experimenting with techniques like nose-to-tail cooking to minimize food waste and ensure that every ingredient has its purpose.

Look for more inexpensive protein sources, such as tinned fish (thanks to TikTok’s viral dirty shirley videos), and cheaper alternatives to eggs, including plant-based egg products.

1. Nut-Free Butters

Nut butters are a favorite spread for sandwiches, salads, whole grain breakfasts, and desserts. But school peanut restrictions and interest in elimination diets have given rise to nut-free options that are healthy and flavorful.

Watermelon seed butter, for example, is rich in magnesium and zinc. Pumpkin seed butter packs in heart-friendly omega-3s and is high in fiber, while tahini (made from sesame seeds) is a great source of calcium and carries vitamin E and heart-healthy fats.

Restaurants can offer these nutrient-dense alternatives in their menus by using them as toppings or adding them to savory sauces and dressings. They also can partner with local organic producers and feature them on their website or social media to help boost profits and support local small businesses.

2. Cactus Water

When it comes to staying hydrated, there are plenty of options out there. You can choose from water, sports drinks, kombucha, coconut water, and more. But if you’re in need of something extra, there is one drink that’s making its way to the forefront: cactus water.

The beverage, also known as prickly pear water, is made with filtered water, prickly pear puree, and agave nectar and comes in several flavors. It’s gaining popularity thanks to its hydrating properties, balancing electrolytes, and being naturally low in sugar and calories.

Manufacturers are expanding the distribution of packaged cactus water to global and regional grocery chains. This is due to increasing consumer focus on health and wellness and inclination toward natural and functional beverages. Moreover, they are investing in research and development of new products to meet the diverse consumer preferences and create differentiation.

3. Veggie Bowls

The signature of these bowl meals is stacked veggies, brightened with flavor-popping toppings. Think fresh herbs, toasted seeds, marinated veggies, pickled or fermented foods and more. These aren’t your mother’s hippie bowls of brown rice and overcooked veg, but rather dishes inspired by Asian cuisine like bibimbap (a Korean composed bowl of rice, vegetables, chili paste and meat) or Japanese chirashi (rice topped with deconstructed sushi ingredients).

Smoothie bowls also have fueled this trend, as they satisfy our desire for visually appealing food and offer a nutrient-packed punch. Look for options with recognizable ingredients that address popular diets, such as vegan, paleo and gluten-free. LB Kitchen, a new eatery on the island of North Haven in Maine, offers an egg-based veggie grain bowl and a fruitier acai bowl.

4. Matcha

Matcha is not only delicious, but also offers many health benefits. It is high in EGCG, an antioxidant with cancer-fighting properties, and L-theanine, which helps to relax the mind.

It is now found in everything from green tea ice cream and cakes to matcha lattes, which are often made with steamed or plant-based milk. It’s even been used in traditional Japanese ceremonies for centuries.

According to research, demand for matcha is increasing in the US and UK as consumers are interested in its unique flavor, versatility, and the nutritional value it provides. Moreover, growing incidence of diabetes and obesity is prompting people to follow a healthy lifestyle, which in turn will drive demand for nutrient-rich drinks and products. This will also fuel market growth.

5. Poke Bowls

Poke bowls are a healthy and customizable dish of raw fish, vegetables and rice. They are growing in popularity due to their convenience and ability to accommodate dietary restrictions. According to GrubHub, interest in poke has increased by 7% this year.

Poke restaurants are booming in the United States with chains like Sweetfin and Island Flavor leading the charge. Their customizable options and health benefits are attracting customers from all walks of life.

For example, at Sweetfin, diners can choose their base from rice, cauliflower, black rice or quinoa, and top it with yellowfin tuna poke, miso eggplant, shiitake chili tofu or citrus kale salad. They can also add a side of avocado and toasted macadamia nuts. Their customizable dishes make them perfect for Instagram, and they are a great way to get more omega 3 fats, protein, complex carbohydrates and antioxidants into your diet.

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