Food for Foresight:  Plating More Plants and Tapping More Tech

Posted in Trends on February 15, 2022

357_victoria-shes-wSh0Exrb62g-unsplashThere may not be any crystal ball to tell us what the foodservice industry can expect this year and beyond, but there is a feast of research to dig into. So let’s serve up a few juicy morsels that are sure to whet your appetite for whats on course for the foreseeable future.'

While major restaurant chains have adapted and even thrived during the COVID-19 outbreak, the persistence of the pandemic is still being felt in supply chain disruptions, labor shortages and inflation increases. 

But the pandemic has not only turbo-charged a shift to digitally driven off-premises channels; it has  also re-oriented the consumer consciousness, instilling a better-for-you mindset and preoccupation with wellbeing and safety. 

Survey results from the market research firm Datassential reveal that “67% of consumers think there will be another pandemic of the same scale as the COVID-19 pandemicor largerin the future.” This concern keeps culinary-supported wellness and functional food benefits top of mind, compelling consumers to “incorporate more immune-boosting and plant-based foods into their diets.”1 Eighty-seven percent of consumers expressed interest in foods and beverages with functional benefits, and over half said they were very likely to purchase them.1

From KFC’s Beyond Fried Chicken to Burger King’s Impossible Whopper, fast-food chains have been quick to add plant-based items to their menus, as high demand provides a catalyst for more protein alternatives. 

Fast-casual chain Chipotle Mexican Grill has introduced a plant-based version of one of its most popular menu staples, chorizo, a highly seasoned ground pork sausage. As Chris Brandt, Chipotle’s chief marketing officer, explained: We are thrilled to introduce guests to our new, flavor-packed Plant-Based Chorizo during a season when healthier options are top of mind. Plant-Based Chorizo is our best chorizo ever and proves that you dont have to sacrifice flavor to enjoy a vegan or vegetarian protein.The item is available at Chipotle locations in the U.S. for a limited time.

Meanwhile, Taco Bell has been growing its own menu of plant-based options, including veggie chalupas, burritos and bowls, to ensure vegans or anyone interested in meat alternatives can get their Taco Bell fix too.

Contactless Technology a Nice Touch on Many Levels  

While plant-based options continue to mushroom on menus to fulfill demand for better-for-you foods and beverages, operations are increasingly turning to technology to ease consumer concerns over safety. With 87% of operators surveyed crediting technology as a determining factor in their ability to survive the last two years,3 it stands to reason that the industry will rely heavily on technological solutions to bolster safety and boost sales. 

According to the geofencing technology platform company Bluedot, consumers surveyed were most likely to spend the most money when ordering from a restaurant app (36%), followed by drive-thru (23%).4 Expect contactless customer experiences through digital innovations like apps and QR code menus to continue to increase sales and grow in demand for purposes of convenience as well as safety.

At Mondelēz International Foodservice, our acclaimed chefs use our trusted brand ingredients to create a wide variety of dishes, desserts and beverages to feed your need for sales on premises and off. Browse our Chefs Culinary Corner for inspiration and tips on creating menu success. Contact us to learn how they can custom-create concepts to meet your operation’s unique needs.


1 Datassential Trendspotting, Vol. 96, Future Food, Foodbytes 2022 Trends

2 May, Laurent, “3 technology trends that will shape how restaurants function in 2022,” Nation’s Restaurant News, January 13, 2022

3 PR Newswire, Chipotle Launches Plant-Based Chirozo and New Lifestyle Bowls, January 3, 2022

4 Bluedot, The State of What Feeds Us, Vol. 5, September 2021

Topics in this article

Related Articles

Right Bites: Restaurants Rework Menus for Snack-Happy Market

As small bites replace large meals, restaurant operations adjust menus for all-day snacking. Explore key data behind the latest trends in small plates.

Oh Dough They Didn't! Upstart Pizza Chains Cook Up New Recipes for Success

As a versatile staple, pizza continues to power sales. Lean how fast-casual restaurant chains Pie Five and 7Pie are taking pizza innovation to new levels.

Next Course: 2023 Foodservice Tech Trends

Explore why two foodservice trends--off-premise restaurant formats and artificial intelligence systems--are poised to rise to new heights in 2023.

Hot Sellers: Summer Flavor Forecast Calls for Wave of Appetite-Whetting Trends

Summer sizzles with seasonal staples and trending twists on old favorites. Explore flavor forecasts from Datassential and EatingWell for summer menu ideas.

All About Newstalgia in Desserts

Tweaking familiar dishes to include a new flavor or format could be the menu addition that will pique consumer interest and help increase sales.

No Sustain, No Gain: Foodservice Feeds Bottom Line with Sustainability and Wellness

Sustainability has become a core catalyst for foodservice success. Explore how True Food Kitchen and Mondelēz International exemplify the sustainability trend.

Smaller, Faster, Smarter: Automated Restaurant Formats Feed the Future of Foodservice

Sweetgreen, Chili's and Panera are adopting lean, automated restaurant formats. Learn how automation is transforming the restaurant industry.

Beverages and Desserts Fuel Flavor Inspiration

Inspired by classic beverage elements, operators are creating new dessert menu items — as well as drinks that feature dessert flavors.

Metaverse Measures Up, Major Restaurant Brands Dig In

Top restaurant chains are hungry to tap the promotional potential of the metaverse. Explore Jimmy John's and Pizza Hut's ambitious metaverse initiatives.

Va-Va-Vending: Technology Transforms Vending Machines into 24/7 Restaurants

No longer just a source for prepackaged snacks, vending machines are now purveyors of gourmet-quality meals. Explore two revolutionary vending machines.

Join the Let’s Chat Snacks Community

Be the first to know when we drop new articles, trends and insights, with updates delivered directly to your inbox. Plus, you’ll get an insider perspective on all things foodservice, carefully curated to help you grow your business.