The National Restaurant Association’s Top 10 Food Trends of 2020


The National Restaurant Association recently released their What’s Hot Culinary Forecast 2020. In addition to an overview of where the restaurant industry is headed, they specifically listed the ten trends that restaurateurs are most excited about. The National Restaurant Association’s Top 10 Food Trends of 2020 release features many different aspects, from food packaging, to cuts of meat.

1. Eco-friendly packaging

In 2020, more restaurants than ever are focused on eco-friendly packaging. In the modern world, people are commuting to work in higher and higher quantities. This means they’re more likely to be finishing leftovers on the way, or even bringing them to work. The National Restaurant Association’s research department predicts that next decade’s growth will continue to come from outside the restaurants themselves. As more and more patrons take their food home, sustainable packaging is a concern for them and the restaurant.

2. Plant-based proteins

Research and development at major food production companies continue to find ways to make plant-based food delicious. While some restaurant patrons are focusing on sustainable meals and avoiding meat, some are simply more health-conscious. Whatever the reason, plant-based proteins are now even available fast food drive-thrus.

3. Delivery-friendly menu items

Every smartphone has dozens of food delivery apps available. With the press of a button, a hungry restaurant customer can order anything from the menu. But factoring in cook and delivery time means that not every meal travels equally. In 2020, restaurants plan to focus even more on developing menu items that get from the kitchen to the customer in ideal condition.

4. Healthy bowls

In the “new menu items” category, healthy bowls ranked #1. A well-plated bowl gives the customer the ability to consume food whenever it’s convenient. Restaurants continue to focus on developing healthy bowls that customers can eat on the go–and feel great about.

5. Scratch-made meals

Restaurant patrons are focusing more than ever on how their meals are prepared and sourced. Restaurants who specialize in scratch-made meals have the ability to capture a niche section of the consumer market that would normally be more difficult to please.

6. Creativity with catering

Restaurants who invest in the catering side of their business have the opportunity for huge returns. Catering brings a unique set of challenges and it can be difficult for restaurants to set themselves apart. By focusing on creativity in their offerings and catering methods, restaurants can gain a foothold in a very competitive lane of the food industry.

7. Revamped classic cocktails

Serving classy drinks never went out of style, but restaurants are finding new ways to cater to the next generation. Many cocktails are timeless and restaurants just need to put the right spin on them. In 2020, more restaurants than ever are revamping their cocktails and finding a way to keep business at the bar booming. Old fashioned, anyone?

8. Stress relievers

Whether it’s a CBD infusion or another natural ingredient to fight stress, restaurants in 2020 are continuing to work ingredients with relaxing properties into their foods. With the scientific advances some restaurants’ R&D divisions are continuing to roll out in 2020, more patrons than ever will have the opportunity to relax while they eat.

9. Specialty burger blends

In addition to plant-based protein, blends of other ingredients are finding their way into classic burgers. Restaurants are offering blends like mushroom-beef and more and more restaurant guests are giving it a shot.

10. Unique beef and pork cuts

New cuts of meat are a great way to give restaurant guests a new food experience and keep costs low. While expectations are high for a standard cut of meat, trying out a new way to prepare food can be a unique experience for guests who are used to the same thing at different restaurants.

No matter what your restaurant trends may see or predict to happen throughout the next year, let Alto-Hartley help bring that vision to life. Alto-Hartley has over 500 manufactures we provide in the Washington D.C. area. Whether you’re looking for a new refrigerator or a niche ice cream maker, we’re here to help and guide your decision-making process along the way.

10 percent off alto-hartley