Last month, we spoke to the fall trends – foods that tell a story and foraged foods & wild greens – that our very own R&D Specialist, Amanda Webb, and her team were eyeing at the start of the autumn season for client menu development and engineering.
Now, Amanda & co are offering more intel on the next round of fall restaurant industry trends inspiring them. This month’s focus: Local & plant-based foods and Eco-friendly restaurant packaging.
Locavores to Flexivores. The less animal products we consume, the better for our planet… right? Amanda and her team have been keeping in trend with this school of thought for years now. But in actuality, the number of people jumping to vegetarianism or veganism annually remains relatively small. “Although, it doesn’t have to be,” says Amanda. “The eco-awareness of eating less meat and other products is still hitting home,” she says. As more diners are opting for more locally harvested ingredients, trying vegetarian dishes, even seeking out vegan-friendly restaurants, these mindful trends are beginning to have an impact on the industry, and restaurants are taking note. Amanda and her team work with clients, such as the popular Washington, D.C.-based, farmer-owned restaurant that buys locally grown food and partners with American family farms, Founding Farmers, to satisfy the demand for local and vegetarian dishes by including menu items such as the plant-based IMPOSSIBLE Burger and IMPOSSIBLE Meatloaf. Looking for fresh vegetables near me or farm fresh veggies near me? Check out your local farmers market and local restaurants that focus on farm fresh fruits and vegetables. Such plant-based options and dishes with ingredients that are locally grown are becoming menu bestsellers.
Eco-Friendly Restaurant Packaging (& More). “For some restaurant concepts,” Amanda says, “what they serve their food in is oftentimes just as important as the food itself.” With so many looking to have a positive impact on our environment every day, the next logical step to mindful sourcing and eating is the packaging our food comes in. On the table in today’s eco-friendly environment? Changing the face of restaurant staples. From eliminating single-use plastic straws to To Go containers and beyond, our industry is coming together to better our planet. If you are looking to go green and make an impact, Amanda recommends looking at your packaging and plastic use, and switching to earth-friendly products. Encourage customers to bring their own containers by offering a small discount on their guest check. Ban plastic straws from your restaurant altogether. Say “no” to plastic water bottles. Seek out vendors that use only eco-friendly food packaging, biodegradable food packaging, environmentally friendly food packaging, eco-friendly takeout containers, and other sustainable materials whenever possible. There is a world of difference you can make, one straw or box or bottle at a time.