Expect to see Middle Eastern and US dishes on pub menus in 2022

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Eating predictions: ingredients that offer escapism are set to hit pub menus next year
Eating predictions: ingredients that offer escapism are set to hit pub menus next year

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Diners’ wishes to escape the UK while still wanting to care for the planet are set to lead what they expect to see on pub food menus in 2022.

Escapism and experimentation, new flavour combinations, niche world cuisines, climate awareness and wellness are the key trends to look out for, coupled with a rise in informal dining, barbecue foods and nutritious ingredients, according to Tasneem Alonzo, joint managing director at Lähde by EHL Ingredients.

Alonzo expects to see world flavours such as Levantine food and American influences with a further expansion of plant-based diets impact menus across the UK.

Foods from far away

She said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has affected all areas of life and many eating, ordering, cooking, shopping and dining habits have changed dramatically. Many pubs, hospitality outlets and operators adapted to the new conditions and ramped up their delivery and takeaway capabilities, supported by technology and apps, as consumers craved, and still want to enjoy, restaurant food in their homes.

“While travel was restricted, foods from far away that offered new flavour combinations appealed to those looking for a sense of escapism. We see this as a trend that will continue into 2022 with spice blends, marinades and seasonings from Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Ethiopia, South Africa, Tunisia and Georgia set to be in demand. Consumers are also enjoying Levantine foods – they’re fresh, full of flavour, colourful, varied, suitable for sharing and packed full of healthy ingredients such as chickpeas, seeds, nuts, beans, pulses – and spice blends such as baharat, za’atar and sumac. We’re also expecting to see Afghan foods start to appear on menus using ingredients such as asofetida, dried fruits, and spices for aromatic and flavourful dishes such as ashak, bolani, mantu, and kabuli pulao.

“Americana is also a burgeoning food trend – there is a definite interest in regional specialities from different parts of the US, especially Louisiana, Texas, California and Hawaii.”

The rise of ‘climatarians’

Alonzo added dining customers are keen to play their part when it comes to sustainability, climate change and care for the planet and see cutting down on meat consumption as a way to help.

She said: “Consumers of all ages are becoming increasingly experimental with their food choices, with a surge in those following a plant-based, meat-free, vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian diet and those cutting out animal products from their diets for health, lifestyle and environmental reasons.

“We’re also seeing the rise of ‘climatarians’ – those who have changed their eating habits to help combat global warming, including eating local, seasonal foods with as little carbon footprint and environmental impact as possible. Conscious eating is definitely a trend that is set to burst onto the food and dining-out scene so we expect to see locally made produce on menus, along with foods from local farms, producers and businesses with few food miles. This is an issue that will be at the forefront of food choices for years to come.”

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