Is the keto diet here to stay? Are CBD-infused beverages the next big thing? Attendees at the National Restaurant Show at Chicago’s McCormick Place got a full rundown on menu trends for 2020.
As the population ages, health concerns continue to play a bigger role in what customers are ordering.
In the last two years, more than half of consumers said they are basing more food choices on nutritional benefits, according to a 2018 Technomic survey. Technomic found 67% of consumers would be more likely to buy food with functional benefits and 32% would be willing to pay more for it.
Healthy diets like paleo, keto, whole 30, vegetarian and gluten-free, are fueling new menu items, according to the 2018 Technomic report. Thirty-eight percent of consumers said they would try a paleo menu item.
Dairy-free has also made inroads with internationally recognized Starbucks rolling out cashew milk on select menus.
CBD is another menu trend. CBD is a relaxant not to be confused with THC which is present in marijuana. It can produce anxiety lessening effects without the psychoactive effects of marijuana.
The legality of CBD consumption varies by state. Nevertheless, CBD is now the leading beverage trend. Restaurants in California are serving CBD-infused beers, carbonated sparkling beverages, even coffee. On the food spectrum, CBD can be put into anything from donut frosting to sauces to cheese. Colorado even has a food truck whose menu is entirely devoted to CBD.
Challenges confronting CBD include concerns about its impact on traffic, bar sales, liability, procurement policing and restaurant image.
If CBD becomes (fully) legalized, it’s a well beyond 2020 trend. Consumers will continually place more emphasis on a healthy diet and trends like keto and CBD will continue to shine.