2024 What’s Hot Culinary Forecast from the National Restaurant Association predicts top menu trends for next year
Swipe. Like. Crave. More and more, the line between restaurant menus and home cooking is blurring, thanks to social media like TikTok where restaurant dishes become viral sensations and in the right culinary hands popular social “food fads” are translating to menus and limited time offers. That’s according to the National Restaurant Association’s 2024 What’s Hot Culinary Forecast and insights pulled from a survey of 1,500 culinary professionals nationwide—its largest to-date—who identified incorporating social media as one of the top ten hottest trends in 2024.
The survey uncovered several broader menu trends to watch for next year as well as specific dishes, ingredients, flavors, and condiments that are set to become fast favorites among consumers. Topping the list of trends, world soups and stews check all the boxes for consumers and restaurant operators. They’re a safe way for customers to experience new ingredients, an economical way to diversify a menu, and they can be an easy way to integrate healthier options.
Top Trends for 2024
“This year’s trends are dominated by consumer craving for comfort and community with a healthy side of curiosity influenced by social media,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of Research for the Association. “Old favorites like BBQ are taking on new flavors and social sharing is influencing the spread of regional fares like Nashville Hot. Even the chicken competition is going global on local menus.”
Across all the food categories, comfort foods ruled the day, with respondents pointing to soups and stews, stuffed vegetables, and melty cheeses as next year’s hottest trends. In a sign of increasingly sophisticated preferences, natural flavors took center stage for alcohol drinks, including botanicals like spices and herbs, along with low-alcohol spirits, while drinks with perceived health and energy benefits led the way for non-alcohol offerings.
The National Restaurant Association surveyed over 1,500 culinary professionals in the United States from October 9, 2023 - October 23, 2023.