Three Culinary Trends to Watch in 2024

December 2023

Three Culinary Trends to Watch in 2024

Maintaining a steady flow of traffic to your operation each year is easier if you can plan for what’s next rather than what’s now. Here are three trends to keep in mind for 2024:

  1. Low-Waste Menus and Hyper-Local Sourcing

Consumers today want a deeper connection with their food and appreciate a restaurant that actively supports the local community. Operators can help their diners feel even better about what they’re eating by offering greater transparency and partnering with local sources for ingredients. Tailoring menus to each season based on ingredient availability is a great way to offer more unique options and stay ahead of the competition.

Fermenting, pickling and curing can extend the life of these locally sourced ingredients and develop complex flavors in dishes diners will be excited to try. Cabbage and beans can be fermented to make kimchi and gochujang paste, perfect in dishes like Korean Turkey Kimchi Soup, or use pickled vegetables to make a Turkey Banh Mi. By leaning into local partnerships and sustainable ingredient techniques, guests will have more reason to return more frequently to try out these diverse and unique options year-round.


  1. Flavor Contrasts

Opposites attract diners. Deliver the element of surprise and enhance the visual appeal of dishes by combining sweet and spicy flavors, chewy and crunchy textures, playful color contrasts or unexpected ingredient pairings. This trend plays into the “Chaos Cooking” movement, which celebrates unconventional culinary combinations and can help make your operation a one-of-a-kind destination.

Some chefs bring their multiethnic backgrounds to the table in creative mash-ups guests can’t find anywhere else. Others combine high-end cuisine offerings with fast food favorites, proving that good food is for everyone. Experimental pairings like these will create buzz and help keep your restaurant or operation top of mind.


  1. Spices and Heat

Global flavors continue to dominate the culinary landscape, especially hot and spicy foods. Consumers crave the excitement of fiery dishes, so chefs are creating menu items with bold ingredient choices like Scotch bonnet, a chili pepper related to the habanero. Balance cold dishes like this Kung Pao Turkey Salad with a spicy, Thai cuisine inspired dressing, or energize comfort food dishes with a kick of heat, like in this Green Chili Turkey Enchilada Bake.

Spicy offerings have also made their way onto shelves. Snyder’s of Hanover® introduced Nashville Hot Pretzel Pieces and SpaghettiOs® pasta now offers Spicy Original featuring Frank’s RedHot®. Hot sauce consumption has surged over the last year, especially among younger consumers; 47% of Gen Z and 45% of Millennials prefer either moderate or super-hot toppings and condiments.


Hit the ground running in the new year by using one or more of these trends to shape your menu and fill your tables. How will you incorporate these trends into your dishes? Share your ideas on our Facebook or LinkedIn pages, and remember to visit our Resource Center for more tips and trends.



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