By Mollie Leal
This year, we’ve stayed on the pulse of all things delicious and interesting in the food & beverage world – from the TikTok Negroni Sbagliato, to butter boards and NFT cocktail bars – and we are excited to share our predictions for trends to watch in 2023.
Justice For Milk
Alternative milks like almond, coconut, and oat milk have been on the rise in popularity for years, accommodating the diets of those that eat vegan, are lactose intolerant, or want to abstain from dairy products. However, as ethical concerns and supply chain issues affected alternative milk brands like Oatly, we see consumers have started raising concerns about the ingredients and environmental impact of these non-dairy milks, with many pointing out that despite marketing efforts, alternatives like oat milk aren’t actually healthier options than dairy milk. And with baristas seeing an increase in consumers ordering whole milk with their coffee, there seems to be a renewed appetite for cow’s milk. In Southern California, there are even milk-fueled ranch parties embracing the Mexican tradition of pajaretes typically celebrated with a drink made from fresh cow’s milk, chocolate, sugar and cane alcohol. We’ll be keeping an eye on milk in 2023.
According to Wonderman Thompson, Millennial spending sits at just over $65 billion – while Generation Z is at almost $100 billion. It’s clear that marketing nostalgic experiences is working to attract these two groups. From choker necklaces, to Y2K fashion, and McDonald’s Happy Meals for adults – it’s all about playing around with the sounds, smells, and flavors enjoyed in earlier days. The craving for yesteryear also seems to fuel a yearning for comfort foods that pay reverence to simpler times. We see it in the rising interest to experience regional dishes like the expanding taco style boom in the Bay Area, to a craving for traditional recipes like Peruvian Pachamanca and Lion’s Head Meatballs. Folks are seeking tastes of home and tradition.
Condiments Are Getting Exciting
The element of cool is coming back to the pantry, and your everyday grocery items like olive oil, horseradish and cranberry sauce are back in the headlines. This year, we saw olive oil brands like Brightland, Graza, Fat Gold, Rubirosa, and Yiayia and Friends in the spotlight for creating products that feel like a statement piece in your kitchen. As Eater reported, these new, artisanal, mostly direct-to-consumer olive oil brands are using punchy names, bold packaging, fashion merchandise, zines, and more to educate consumers about what makes a good olive oil and how to use it. Major brands and partners have their eye on the condiments space with companies like Burger King making headlines for introducing a new sandwich dubbed the “Zesty Horseradish King,” and JoJo Siwa becoming a spokesperson for cranberry sauce, teaming up with Ocean Spray. Keep an eye on your pantry in the new year.
Cocktails Get A Makeover
In 2022, the classic cocktail stepped aside as consumers and mixologists explored a variety of textures, flavors and presentations. Many bar-goers enjoyed cocktails with a salt rim that went beyond the bounds of the top of the glass, found edible snacks as the garnish on a beverage, or sampled a few mini-cocktails. It’s clear that cocktails are getting a real makeover and will continue to evolve into 2023. As the sober curious movement grows, and more consumers appreciate healthier drinking options, we can also expect that non-alcoholic and zero proof cocktails are here to stay; with mixologists expected to provide the same level of flavor complexity and balance for non-alcoholic options. Will the cocktail world go virtual in the new year? This one’s hard to call, but we’ll be watching.