“In 2020, new food and drink line extensions plummeted by 29% versus the prior three-year average in multi-outlet retailers and convenience stores, per an innovation report from IRI.”1 Due to the pandemic, there is a lot of uncertainty of what to expect in the months to come and unpredictability. However, when it comes to fall, food trends are a lot easier to predict. When people think of fall, they think of pumpkin spice, apple cider, Thanksgiving dinner, comfort, and Halloween. Therefore, people are going to be wanting to try new food and drinks based on comfort and all of what makes the fall season. Although, with COVID still going around, people will look for healthy immunity dishes as well.
In a study, it was found that “males preferred warm, hearty, meal-related comfort foods (such as steak, casseroles, and soup), while females instead preferred comfort foods that were more snack related (such as chocolate and ice cream).”2 With that said, comfort foods such as pie and ice cream are the most popular during the fall especially if they are “fall-themed” such as pumpkin spice, cinnamon, or apple. There’s nothing better than having a nice cold pumpkin spice, sweet potato, or butternut squash-flavored ice cream to pair with a warm pie. For casseroles, customers may appreciate seeing butternut squash soup, chicken pot pie casserole, or green bean casserole on the menu.
“Products touting an immunity/antioxidant or a botanical/oil claim each rose 12% for the year ended Dec. 27, 2020, IRI reports, and those carrying a nutrient claim grew by 10%. One-third of adults were more likely to buy food or drink with multiple health benefits.”3 During the fall, many dishes include nuts, squash, pumpkin, grains, leafy greens, and protein. When it starts to get cold, people are going to look for ways to boost up their immune systems to fight against the cold, flu, and now COVID.4
According to digital nutrition editor Lisa Valente, M.S., R.D., she states, “I expect foods with garlic, ginger, and elderberry to continue to be hot. Feel free to cozy up with a big bowl of chicken soup and aim to eat some extra vitamin C and D, but know that getting lots of sleep, staying hydrated, and eating a well-balanced diet is important to keep you healthy (along with washing hands!)5 In addition to vitamin C, vitamin A can help boost immune systems as well. Vitamin A packed foods include squash, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes.6 All of these are used in many fall dishes.
Cultural Flavor Town
When thinking of trends, it’s important that restaurant owners think of their current target market, while also reaching out to new ones. As of right now, with the strength of social media, word-of-mouth spreads quickly amongst those in Gen Z. Amongst those in Gen Z, they consider themselves “foodies.”7 Fall food and beverage items don’t always have to cater to the typical American fall food and drinks. In fact, Gen Zers are looking for cultural comfort foods now. Restaurant owners can either decide to make it authentic or add their own twists to the cultural dish if they wish to.
For example, in Germany, their favorite fall dishes include flammkuchen, käsespätzle, and kürbissuppe.8 These dishes will certainly cater to the American tongue. Flammkuchen is a “thinly rolled, rectangular crust topped with layers of tangy fromage blanc or crème fraîche, sweet onions (Zwiebeln) and salty bacon (Speck), then baked in a wood-fired oven until golden brown.”9 Käsespätzle is similar to mac and cheese. The dish consists of “soft egg noodles traditionally shaped by hand and said to resemble sparrows (Spatzen), is baked in a casserole dish between layers of melted butter and grated cheese (typically Emmenthaler).”10 Lastly, Kürbissuppe is similar to America’s butternut squash soup. It is “puréed pumpkin (Kürbis), a European fall staple, is simmered with chicken broth, heavy cream, butter, salt, and pepper.”11
Hot beverages are popular in the fall due to the weather getting colder. As said before, people are looking for ways to better themselves mentally and build up their immune systems from sickness during the colder months of the year. Warm beverages can help with that by keeping the body warm.
Most people think about hot apple cider, teas, and pumpkin spice lattes when thinking about the fall season. There are many beverages for adults and children to enjoy this upcoming fall season. For adults over the age of 21, they can enjoy a hot apple cider rum punch or a mulled wine.12 They can also enjoy a hot cider nog, a tahini hot chocolate, or warm Russian tea.13 Children may enjoy a warm spicy apple & carrot drink.14