beginning of the year, when more consumers may be refraining from alcohol, is a particularly crucial time to expand these options.
Elevated pizza pies Pizza has become a staple during the health crisis; as borne out by their financials, pizza chains have fared well because of the timehonored ease of producing and delivering pies to hungry households. As pizza becomes over-commoditized, some pizza chains that have elevated their art are getting noticed. Elevated pies is a way that WGSN’s Key Trend 2021: Pizza report recommends restaurant operators stand out from the crowd. Premium ingredients can certainly enhance a pie. The main ingredient—the dough—for starters can be an differentiator. L’Industrie Pizzeria in New York cold-ferments its dough for 3 days to enhance flavor, one of a few shops taking their dough very seriously to appeal to the discerning palate, notes WGSN. Another example is Shackamaxon in Philadelphia, which serves up slices of pizza some have described as art. Its pepperoni pizza features Pilgrim Provisions pepperoni, First Field tomatoes, low moisture mozzarella, fontina, and pecorino romano; and is finished with house-dried oregano and olive oil. Due to high demand, Shackamaxon is not taking oneoff pre-orders: currently, customers must come into the shop for orders of fewer than 4 pies. WGSN recommends that operators tell the story of the origins and potential benefits of the premium ingredients they use. For those that are not primarily pizza restaurants, incorporating a distinctive pie on the menu can be a wise, strategic move throughout 2021 and beyond.
Cultured meat The sustainable aspects of cultured meat make it a trend that will eventually take hold, but not necessarily within the next few months. Eat Just, Inc, producer of Just Eggs, announced that it had begun to sell cultured meat in a 30 District Restaurant News
foodservice setting in Singapore. The restaurant debut of GOOD Meat Cultured Chicken, created from animal cells for human consumption, followed Singapore’s regulatory approval of the product in November. It’s a trend to which larger foodservice companies and restaurant chains will need to start paying attention. Although there is a fair amount of diner reticence to laboratory-grown meat, many consumers are concerned about the impact of meat processing on the environment. But the sale and consumption of cultured chicken on December 19 at 1880’s restaurant dinner series was historic, and there is no turning back. The impact on food production, particularly in countries that cannot safely or consistently rely on animal farming, cannot be overstated. While any approvals will take longer here in the US, American restaurant chains operating or licensing their brands abroad will likely consider implementing cultured meat products on their menus in the near future. According to Packaged Facts’ Vegan, Vegetarian and Flexitarian Consumers report, “Companies may tout many reasons they make their products as an alternative to meat, such as being better for animal welfare or lessening the environmental impact of raising animals for slaughter.” Impossible Foods, producer of meatalternative Impossible Meat, and Eat Just, Inc., are doing just that: explaining the sustainable impact of their products while vilifying animal meat production.
Looking forward In 2021, those restaurants that have survived or even thrived will need to up their game. Pursuing and enhancing meaningful food trends will help them gain traction and visibility, and increase their likelihood of success. Diners will eventually return to the restaurant on-premise experience once the coronavirus has been subdued through the strategic rollout of vaccinations. This will take as long as it takes; meanwhile, COVID-19 still looms large in the United States and must be factored into any forecasts.