Benchmark has released its list of top dining trends for 2020 as observed by executive chefs and culinary experts at the global hospitality company’s 80 luxury hotels, resorts and restaurants, including Garden of the Gods Resort and Club in Colorado Springs and Tivoli Lodge in Vail as well as the very recent addition of Manor Vail Lodge.
No. 1 Cannabidiol (CBD)
Coffee shops and restaurants in many American cities now have an array of CBD oil-infused menu offerings that are aimed at attracting customers interested in trying new eco-friendly, plant-based ingredients. CBD is a naturally occurring, non-psychoactive compound found in the resinous flower of cannabis and is known to reduce pain, stress and anxiety. CBD-infused drinks are also quickly gaining momentum.
No. 2 Plant Ecosystem
Some individuals are making a dietary switch into the plant-based ecosystem and seeking plant-based food alternatives meat and dairy. The art of cooking and food invention are recreating meat and dairy flavors from non-meat and non-dairy products like soy, peas, cashews and almonds.
No. 3 Healthy Snacks
There are new products on the snack food market providing healthier alternatives to chips, with ingredients like chickpeas, beets, quinoa and kale.
No. 4 Jackfruit
The newest go-to meat substitute is jackfruit. Already being used as an alternative for barbecue pulled pork, jackfruit is a southeast Asian fruit that is a great source of iron, calcium and B vitamins.
No. 5 Fruit Forward
Unique fruit flavors, such as cactus, are taking mixology by storm … more specifically, spiny cactus fruits such as prickly pear and dragon fruit. Consumers also are exploring unique fruit flavor varieties, including bergamot orange, yuzu, calamansi, citron, makrut lime, pomelo, Meyer lemon, blood orange and ugli fruit.
No. 6 Oat Milk
Oat milk has emerged as the golden child of alternative milks. It’s terrific in coffees, and companies are launching other oat milk products as alternatives to dairy.
No. 7 Sparkling Water
Sparkling water demand continues to be driven by consumers who are concerned about sugar but still looking to satisfy cravings for carbonation. Consider offering sparkling water beverages that feature unique flavors and low alcohol (or no alcohol).
No. 8 Bright & Bold
In terms of flavors and colors, consumers are looking for bright, bold, appealing hues. Color generates emotional appeal with food, and it may be as important as taste.
No. 9 Traceability
Consumers are demanding sustainability in all forms. Whether it’s swapping out Styrofoam and plastic for paper or bamboo or buying ingredients from local sustainable sources, sustainability is a big focus.
No. 10 Ugly Produce
Consumers are finally accepting misshapen, bruised and ugly foods as totally edible. How can hotels and restaurants follow suit?