Hospitality food-and-beverage programs are evolving with new diet and consumer product trends. Here’s a look at a few of those.
Plant-based, hyper-local and gut-friendly are buzzwords that represent today's food-and-beverage market.
The Impossible Burger that I had at a Phoenix Suns game last month was pretty good for a meat-eating guy like myself. Artisan bakers, craft brewers, healthy hydration (think creative water bars with infused fruits and herbs) and power breakfasts are trending. The ideal “power” breakfast can include cereals focused on digestive health with probiotics or probiotic power bars with chia seeds. These concepts were not on the drawing boards until recently. According to Molly Sinclair, assistant corporate marketing manager at RAR Hospitality, “vegan and vegetarian food are trends (that) are not going away, and hotels are missing out if they do not offer these options.”
“Some hot new foods focus on fresh organic grains and proteins like lentil quinoa bowls or black bean burgers. Bowls in general are popular, especially Hawaiian poke. Breakfast options are getting more intricate with enormous variations of avocado toast, unique eggs Benedict and fusion of Asian and Hispanic influences. There is more focus on the presentation and photogenic quality of a special with the growing Instagram ‘wow’ factor around the world,” Sinclair added.
Yes, food trends are changing rapidly and hotels must keep up with the pace.
Tom Brady offers some great recipes in his book, “The TB-12 Method,” with fresh, organic and locally grown vegetables and fruits, fewer carbs and relatively smaller portions of protein. Brady, appearing in this year’s Super Bowl, is clearly an outlier in terms of his health and fitness.
Wellness kitchens are another trend. Fresh fruits and vegetables, not processed foods, healthier snacks for breaks and much of what Brady has talked about has blurred the line between food trends and wellness trends. We all have a general idea of what we should or should not eat but just look at America—we need to change and hotels can differentiate offerings by helping guests achieve a better approach to eating and wellness in general.
Cannabis, keto and other trendy diets
Now that it's legal in 30 states, food companies are beginning to experiment with CBD oil (listed in my top 10 trends for 2019), a non-psychoactive extraction from the marijuana plant. Though it doesn't get you high, early research shows that it has the potential to help curb addictions and reduce anxiety and stress. Whole Foods reports that they'll begin selling more and more products infused with CBD oil, as well as products made from hemp seeds, a sister to CBD oil.
Companies like Whole Foods focus on the fact that keto, paleo and grain-free diets continue to gain popularity. The demand for dairy-, animal- and grain-free healthy fat sources has continued to rise. According to Whole Foods, that means alternative fat sources will start to boom in 2019, especially MCT oil (a type of oil extracted from coconut oil) and ghee, a clarified butter that has been used in southeast Asian cooking and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.
“Options that allow people to go more plant-based without becoming totally vegan or vegetarian is a trend that is gaining more momentum,” according to Patricia Bannan, RDN, who is in private practice in Los Angeles.
“The mushroom-and-meat blended burger has really taken off, and continues to grow across the board at the restaurant, retail and consumer levels. This burger has an improved nutritional profile and even more of the brothy, rich, meaty umami flavor compared with a traditional burger,” Bannan said.
Stimulate heath through design, experiences
What is the takeaway for hotel F&B? Make sure guests feel like they are eating in an environment where foods are both tasty and healthy. Guests should feel like they are smarter for dining at your hotel in addition to venturing out into the market area. Most importantly, guests should feel a combination of warmth, pleasing design, Instagrammable moments, tasty cuisine and a feeling that they ate healthy.
Couple those experiences with great service, and hotel F&B will provide profitable returns.
Robert A. Rauch, CHA is an internationally-recognized hotelier, Hotel Guru, CEO and founder of RAR Hospitality, a leading hospitality management and consulting firm based in San Diego. Rauch has over 35 years of hospitality-related management experience in all facets of the industry.
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