Americans' desire for international food remains strong despite rising nationalism

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Source: iStock
Source: iStock

Related tags Restaurant Food

A renewed nationalism by a vocal portion of the US population, fueled by Trump’s presidential campaign and victory, likely will not dampen consumers’ desire for international flavors and dishes, according to some trendologists.

“Modern takes on a lesser-known cuisines are taking the country by storm,”​ as consumers continue to “go on an adventure to another culture”​ through food, according to AF&Co’s 2017 Trends Report.

In particular, the restaurant and hospitality consultants, predict people will embrace flavors from the Mediterranean and Middle East, including Turkey and Afghanistan. These flavors are growing in part because men and women in the military stationed abroad in the regions are bringing the flavors of the countries home with them.

It also predicts Filipino fare will breakout in 2017. The cuisine is “bold, fresh and borderline addictive,”​ according to the report, which also notes that Filipinos are the second largest Asian populations in the US.

Based on a poll of industry experts as well as in-house knowledge, AF&Co also predicts in 2017 that:

  • Breakfast sandwiches will continue their rise to new levels and new day parts -- In 2016, all day breakfast gained traction, thanks in part to McDonalds offering breakfast all day. And in 2017, the report predicts high end restaurants will follow suit by adding breakfast to dinner menus.
  • Edible marijuana will gain traction -- With California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada joining Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska with legal recreational cannabis, AF&Co predicts that secret cannabis clubs and tasting menus will become mainstream. As more consumers become familiar with edibles, packaged products could become more desirable for the flexibility they provide.
  • Bowls will evolve -- In 2016, bowls came on the scene as a convenient and colorful way to blend flavors and eat internationally inspired dishes. AF&Co predicts in 2017 bowls will evolve to be more grain based.
  • Plant-based becomes more mainstream -- Usually restaurants influence CPGs, but in this case innovations in plant-based meat alternatives by packaged food manufacturers are shifting to food service, the report predicts.
  • Ice cream will become more adventurous -- Examples of emerging frozen treat trends in the report include soft serve matcha, Thai rolled ice cream and chef-crafted flavors.
  • Vegan cheese will gain wider acceptance -- With “the vegan lifestyle becoming more mainstream,” AF&Co predicts cheese alternatives will be “popping up everywhere.”​ It explains, “Advances in food technology and vegan acceptance have paved the way for a bevy of animal-free products, all engineered to look and taste like the real thing.”
  • “Rot”​ will become “hot”​ -- Fermented foods offering “other-worldly flavors”​ and functional benefits will become increasingly popular.
  • Consumers will switch up their beverages for switchel -- Related to the fermentation trend, slightly sweet drinking vinegary will be positioned as a healthy sports drink alternative.

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