2019 food trends will be filled with international flavors, higher interest in sourcing, and unique ingredients becoming mainstream.

2018 Asian Island Cuisine

It started with poke bowls, and the demand for cuisine from islands like the Philippines and Hawaii continued to climb throughout 2018. Dishes like adobo and bagoong found their places on menus, and entire restaurant concepts cropped up to showcase the bright, sour, sweet, funky flavors of these tropical locales.

2019 International Breakfast

In an effort to go beyond eggs and bacon, restaurants are pulling inspiration from their travels and looking at international breakfast foods. Middle Eastern and Korean influences are especially finding an audience with dishes like shakshuka and riffs on bulgogi becoming more common on breakfast and brunch menus.

2018 Alternative Proteins and Plant-Based Foods

As we predicted last year, alternative proteins and plant-based foods were an area of focus for consumers, with products like the ‘bleeding’ Impossible Burger popping up on restaurant menus across the country and similar products like the Beyond Burger grabbing retail space. As issues around sustainability become more commonly understood, this trend is poised to get even more attention and mainstream acceptance.

2019 Transparent Labeling

After food safety scares, consumers are increasingly voicing an interest in transparent labeling and sourcing. Consumer confidence is becoming linked to an ability to know exactly where a product comes from, when, and what’s in it. For now, much of this type of labeling is at the discretion of the producer, but the demand is growing to the point where producers who choose not to share that information may be pushed out of the marketplace by their more transparent competitors.

2018 Instagrammable Dishes

Specialty food producers and restaurants realized in 2018 that creating an Instagram-worthy food or dish could attract a huge foodie following. It seemed everyone was in search of the next cronut, and with good reason. So-called social media influencers have big sway when it comes to who gets noticed, and it’s the ones with the memorable meals that make it to the top of the list.

2019 Instagrammable Spaces

If what was on the plate was the focus last year, it’s the entire setting that’s getting attention in 2019. Big, bold wallpaper and murals that beg for selfies are becoming standard fixtures of the hot new places to see and be seen. Think wallpaper with monstera leaves and unique, commissioned works of art. It’s not enough to put art on the plate these days; it needs to follow the guest into the bathroom because, yes, they’ll be taking pictures there too.

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