Great Explorations: Global Influences Elevate Menus with a World Of Culinary Creativity

Posted in Trends on February 14, 2023

debbie-tea-LO7rNP0LRro-unsplash (1)It’s that time of year again, when foodservice market research brings a feast of forecasts to the table. But 2023 is unique—a year at the crossroads between a fading pandemic and fresh economic realities—some favorable, some not so much.

A mix of challenges and opportunities is sure to make 2023 interesting. The competitive landscape is in a state of flux as the pandemic recedes and economic headwinds gather. As Technomic pointed out, the long drought of dine-in options during the pandemic has created a thirst for on-site experiences, but the restaurant industry remains unalterably changed. 

“As consumers continue to rebalance their restaurant habits, this on-premise renaissance will challenge operators who are short of ideal staffing levels and pinched by inflation,” reported Technomic.1 “Longer term, the outlook still looks brighter for off-premise occasions, with on-premise dining projected to still fall short of reaching pre-pandemic levels.”1

Technomic foresees an improving economic climate, with savvy foodservice operators seizing the opportunity to capitalize on pent-up consumer demand for experiences. Culinary innovation is expected to include high-margin grain products with an international flair, such as Jamaican coco bread, Filipino suman rice cakes and South Indian appam pancakes.1

A Flavorful Forecast: More Culinary Diversity on the Horizon 

Food Management magazine also foresees culinary diversity and internationally inspired menu innovation as key experiences operators will serve up in 2023. Chef Douglas Katz, who creates Indian and Middle Eastern fare at two restaurants in Cleveland, contributed to the magazine’s forecast with insights into the trend toward international influences. 

As Katz explained: “Our world is getting more diverse in every way. Restaurants are a place of hospitality and our role is to create a welcoming environment for all people. We do this through providing foods that nurture us and bring us together. We are able to welcome people from all different cultures because of our familiar and not-so-familiar offerings. It provides the adventure for those that don’t get to travel and experience these delicious food cultures and it gives the diverse communities and opportunity to explore new takes on foods they are familiar with.”2

Among the items Katz foresees trending is the rich, nutty sauce tahini. “I’m excited about tahini in general as it hits on all the current food diets (gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, sugar-free) and provides a richness in our recipes,” he said.

Sodexo Chef Adena Muskin of Rollins College cited the popularity of Mediterranean and his falafel board as a way to sample and share the experience. He predicted the lemony spice blend za’atar will trend in 2023.2

Research compiled by Mondelēz Foodservice in our Snack and dessert trends—a look back and a look aheadunderscores the popularity of global flavors on dessert menus. Limoncello (+21%), pandan (+16%) and ube (+10) were among the biggest gainers.3

In our report, Five Flavor & Food Trends for 2023, Pastry Chef Gemma Matsuyama predicts Asian flavors like ube and matcha will become increasingly popular in 2023. “I expect a lot more of the younger generation in North America and Europe will want to try more Asian flavors with the increased interest in anime, video games and K-pop culture,” she said.

Hungry for expert ideas, innovation and inspiration to diversify your menu? Visit our Brand Ambassadors page and learn how top chefs leverage our brand ingredients to create standout culinary concepts that help drive sales. Crave custom solutions for your foodservice operations? Just reach out below.



1 Technomic, What We Foresee for 2023, 2022

2 Fitzpatrick, Tara, “14 future-forecasting food and menu trend predictions,” Food Management, December 7, 2022

3 Datassential MenuTrends 

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.

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.

Asian Flavors & Formats Feed Dessert Inspiration

Flavors found in a number of dishes traditionally served in Southeast Asia are helping to inspire creative dessert menu options with widespread appeal.

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.

How to Use Sweet Treats to Help Drive Profits

An enticing dessert menu can translate into higher sales — if restaurants are able to offer sweet treats that deliver what consumers want.

How to Effectively Promote Your Holiday Menu

Find out how to offer Christmas, Hanukkah and other fall and winter holiday-focused menu items that will draw customers during the season.

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.

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.

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.

Global Street Foods Offer Portable Culinary Experiences

Global trends around street foods are having an increasing impact on restaurant menus in 2023 and beyond. Learn more about these trends.

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.