- WHITE PAPERS
The fourth quarter has just gotten started, but predictions are already starting to trickle in about what will be the hottest food/beverage trends for 2013.
Restaurant consulting firm Baum + Whiteman released its list earlier this week, with 17 trends picked to take off in the coming year. They include continued specialty beverage innovation (including "artisan" bars). For example, as smoothies continue moving into the mainstream, the firm expects genuine juice bars to start popping up as well, particularly during the afternoon daypart.
Baum + Whiteman also predicts the fast casual segment to continue its staggering growth.
Its report (found here) writes: "Because fast cas (sic) concepts seem fresh and new, they're entry points to sample new ethnic cuisines ... especially for millennials."
Some traditional chains are rebranding to fit into this segment, including Sbarro, Shoney's, Denny's, Red Robin's Burger Works, and Pizza Inn's Pie Five Pizza Co. The key to fast casual's success, Baum + Whiteman says, is to provide/sell a holistic experience, develop personal connections to customers, and offer food transparency and a specific brand narrative.
That's not to say the firm predicts the decline or stagnation of quick-service, however. In 2013, Baum + Whitman said this segment will more strongly embrace the barbell menu model, with $1 deals featured alongside premium products that better compete with fast casual concepts.
QSRs are expected to fancy up their burger offerings (adding pineapple, for example), add more sauces and ethnic influences and flirt with different bread options (beyond the bun). Wendy's has hinted at its experimentation with the latter trend. During its investor day in June, Gerard Lewis, Wendy's senior vice president of Culinary Development, said he wants to be the first to market flatbread.
Wendy's also is exploring other types of breads such as a cheddar/jalapeno bun and a pretzel roll. "This will allow us to offer something you won't find at other QSRs. This will be special," said Lori Estrada, vice president, Culinary Development, during the event.
Another trend that has been gaining speed in the past couple of years leading to its predicted 2013 spotlight is the snacking daypart.
"Reasons vary," the report writes. "Life's too hectic; I need a pleasure fix; an energy jolt; I missed lunch; or want to chew more than just fat with a coworker."
Consumers are snacking significantly more now than they were just two years ago, in fact. Almost half (48 percent) of consumers polled by research firm Technomic say they're now snacking at least twice a day, compared to 25 percent in 2010.
Towing the snack line is the rollout of mini burgers, wraps, smoothies, bites and more. Within the past few months alone, McDonald's has introduced McBites; KFC introduced Original Recipe Bites; Whataburger launched Whatachick'n Bites; Popeyes' has featured its Rip'n Chick'n and Dip'n Chick'n; and Rally's has brought us Chicken Dippers.
Baum + Whiteman's other predictions for 2013 include:
Sterling-Rice Group picks culinary trends for '13
Boulder, Colo.-based Sterling-Rice Group has also prognosticated culinary trends for the coming year. SRG is an integrated brand strategy firm that has worked with seven of the top 12 food manufacturers in the U.S.
The group's Top 10 predicted trends include:
The 2013 Top Ten Food Trends list was compiled by SRG's culinary council – a team of more than 100 chefs, restaurateurs and foodies.
Read more about culinary trends.