2021 was an impactful year for many food establishments, with most having to pivot multiple times during the pandemic to meet the needs of customers. From takeout to dining al fresco due to indoor dining restrictions, food trends were pushing the boundaries to innovate the plate.
With some trends merely being a flash in the pan, some trends will continue to move forward and become mainstream, including downsizing menus, hyper-local sourcing, health-conscious meals, adaptogens, spicy flavor blends, ghost Kitchens, and of course, plant-based.
Chefs everywhere know that umami-rich mushrooms pair exceptionally with other ingredients – taking on, and enhancing, the flavors of the dish. Here are 4 ways that mushrooms fit into 2022 food trends and how we expect them to become mainstream.
Chefs continue to create innovative solutions for plant-based consumers while exploring the versatility of cooking with fruits and vegetables. Restaurants are swapping vegetables for meat in dishes like jackfruit sandwiches, chickpea and lentil meatloaf, and utilizing The Blend — combining mushrooms and meat — for a healthier and more flavorful entrée. The New York Times named mushrooms the “Ingredient of the Year” and an essential food for the plant-based movement. The nutritional benefits, plant-forward role, and sustainable attributes of mushrooms are highly attractive to both menu developers and consumers. Furthermore, mushrooms, with their inherent meaty qualities and umami are the ideal central ingredient for chefs offering plant-based, plant-forward dishes. Bringing all those elements together — flavor, function, form, and footprint — make mushrooms a particularly appealing application for today’s menu.
Spice of Life
Regional cuisine made with traditional ingredients and techniques are growing in popularity as consumers look to explore the world through food. Of these authentic cultural cuisines, traditional spices like garam masala and gochujang, are growing in popularity and adding a little pop of authentic flavor to the dish. Take advantage of this growing trend by marinating mushrooms in flavorful spice blends and sauces to take dishes to the next heat level.
Delivery and Ghost Kitchen
A ghost kitchen is a restaurant that operates through delivery only. This virtual kitchen concept, paired with delivery apps such as DoorDash, Postmates, and UberEats, have multiplied by the dozen due to the pandemic, as consumers demand quality and convenience. Food delivery apps bring white tablecloth food to a night on the couch increasing the opportunity to introduce new customers to all sorts of local establishments. While increasing customer reach is appealing, it is important to find the best way to maintain food quality during the delivery period. By utilizing the Blend, the mushrooms can add moisture to dishes keeping burgers, pasta, and tacos juicy and reduce drying during delivery, ensuring a positive customer experience.
Health-Conscious and Simplified
Think all-natural, organic, GMO-free, and locally sourced. These buzzwords are what consumers are looking for on menus – and they are willing to pay a higher price for it. They want to know ingredients are sourced locally, with a focus on seasonality and peak freshness. When inventory is streamlined based on what’s in season, menus are simplified, food waste is reduced, and the local economy is supported. Adding mushrooms to a menu checks all the boxes for consumers. Mushrooms are a healthful addition, toting a variety of vitamins and other health benefits, not to mention they are gluten-free, low sodium and low calorie. South Mill Champs has farms and distribution strategically located across North America, making us well-positioned to complete fast and efficient deliveries to an increased number of communities.
Mushrooms fit perfectly within many of these food trends, often leading the way by example. If you see a place for mushrooms on your menu please reach out to our team at South Mill Champs, we’d be happy to help you build a delicious, sustainable and trend-setting menu featuring mushrooms.