Food Trends | Menu Planning

13 Rose-Colored Menu Ingredients for 2023

Feb 10, 2023

13 Rose-Colored Menu Ingredients for 2023

Pink foods—the ultimate Instagram-friendly menu items—are popping up across the foodservice world right now. From bubble tea to acai bowls, dragon fruit to pitaya smoothies, and strawberry milk to pink lattes and cocktails, restaurants are finding new and exciting ways to incorporate this vibrant hue into their menus.

This year, pink food and beverage creations are capturing attention with visually stunning presentations, packed with over-the-top toppings like glitter and sprinkles. Beets, dragonfruit, matcha, and luster dust are just some of the ingredients used to create not only eye-catching beverages and cocktails, but also pasta dishes and pies.

"Pink is a visually pleasing, natural color and that's why it pairs so well with food," says Dianna Fricke, Simplot Director of Culinary and Corporate Executive Chef. "Unlike the southern belle, red velvet cake laden with food coloring, most people prefer natural ingredients, and it doesn’t hurt they're loaded with antioxidants."

Here are a few naturally pink foods to consider for your menu.

  1. Lilly pilly berries bring the pink

    Want to add a splash of color to your fruit platter or create a truly unique dessert? Lilly pilly berries are the perfect ingredient to have on hand. These little-known, pink-hued berries are a must-try for anyone who loves a combination of sweet and tangy flavors. The berry's delicate skin and juicy flesh make it the perfect ingredient for creating vibrant smoothies, jams, and other sweet treats. With a unique flavor that's a cross between cranberries, raspberries and cherries, lilly pilly berries are quickly finding favor outside their native Australia.

  2. Bubble tea is making a pink stir

    Bubble tea, also known as boba, has been a staple in Asian cuisine for decades, but it's only recently that it has exploded in popularity in the West. The bright pink color of some bubble tea drinks, often achieved through the addition of syrup or fruit purée, has made it a standout on menus.

  3. A smoothie bowl of pink: The rise of acai

    Acai bowls, made from a freeze-dried powder of the acai berry, have become a popular breakfast or brunch option in many restaurants. Often served in a delicious pink hue, these bowls are both visually stunning and nutritious, making them a great addition to any menu.

  4. Dragon fruit is catching fire

    Dragon fruit, with its striking pink flesh and black seeds, has become a popular ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes. Whether sliced and served as a colorful garnish or blended into smoothies, dragon fruit adds a bold pop of pink to any dish.

  5. Don't forget about good old-fashioned strawberries

    Strawberries are a timeless classic that never goes out of style. These sweet, juicy berries are a favorite among chefs for their delicious flavor and versatility. From smoothies to salads, strawberries can be used in a variety of dishes to add both flavor and nutrition.

    With the year-round availability of high-quality frozen strawberries like Simplot Simple Goodness™ Fruit Strawberries, why not indulge in the age-old appeal of strawberries and serve the sweet taste of summer all year long?

  6. Milking the moment: Strawberry milk's comeback

    Speaking of strawberries, strawberry milk, a childhood favorite for many, has made a comeback in recent years, especially in artisanal milkshakes (with strawberry ice cream, of course). The bright pink hue of this classic drink is a welcome addition to any menu, and its sweet, nostalgic flavor is sure to bring a smile to your customers' faces.

  7. Pink lattes and cocktails in restaurants

    Pink lattes, made with beetroot powder or raspberry syrup, and pink cocktails, made with ingredients like strawberries, raspberries, and rosé, have become popular sips in restaurants. These drinks not only add a touch of pink to your menu, but they also offer unique and delicious flavor combinations that your customers are sure to love.

  8. Pink pineapple finds its place in the sun

    Unlike traditional yellow pineapples, pink pineapples are a result of a natural genetic variation that gives the fruit its distinctive light pink color. In addition to its vibrant appearance, pink pineapple is also known for its sweet and slightly tangy flavor. This ingredient is perfect for adding a pop of color to fruit platters, smoothies, cocktails, and even savory dishes.

  9. Ever heard of the hidden rose apple?

    Hidden rose apples are a lesser-known variety of apples that are characterized by their bright pink flesh. These apples are not only visually striking, but they also have a unique, sweet-tart flavor that sets them apart from traditional green or red apples. Despite their striking appearance and delicious flavor, hidden rose apples are often overlooked in favor of more popular apple varieties. However, these apples are making a comeback in the culinary world, as chefs and food enthusiasts discover their unique taste and versatility.

  10. You'll love pink oyster mushrooms

    Pink oyster mushrooms have a delicate, tender texture and a subtle, slightly sweet flavor that sets them apart from other mushrooms. They're also known for their vibrant pink color, which makes them a visually stunning ingredient in pink menu items. Whether sautéed, grilled, or used in soups and stews, pink oyster mushrooms are another arrow in your quiver of pink ingredients.

  11. Glamorous greens: ornamental cabbage and kale

    Used as a garnish or as a main ingredient, ornamental cabbage and kale can add a touch of glamour to your pink food creations. These leafy greens are a versatile ingredient that can be used in an array of dishes, from salads and stir-fries to soups and stews. They're also a good source of nutrients such as vitamins A and C.

  12. Raspberries are yet another opportunity for pink foods

    Red raspberries have a rich and fascinating history that dates back thousands of years. Throughout the centuries, red raspberries have been used in a variety of dishes, from sweet desserts to savory sauces. In the Middle Ages, they were often used as a natural sweetener, and in the 19th century, they gained popularity as an ingredient in jams and jellies. Try Simplot Simple Goodness™ Fruit Red Raspberries and leave the work and waste of fresh raspberries behind.

  13. Pink-eyed peas: We're not making this up

    Pink-eyed peas, also known as southern peas, have a rich history that dates back to the antebellum period in the South. These small, sweet peas were a staple food of slaves and were often used as a source of nutrition in times of scarcity.

    Over time, pink-eyed peas became a staple ingredient in Southern cuisine and were used in dishes such as Hoppin' John, a traditional dish made with black-eyed peas and rice. Today, pink-eyed peas are still a popular ingredient in Southern cooking and are enjoyed for their sweet flavor and tender texture.

Looking for additional ideas? Here's a short list of even more pink options:

  • Sockeye salmon
  • Cara Cara oranges
  • Watermelon radish
  • Bissap
  • Pomegranate
  • Cherries
  • Poke
  • Schisandra berries

Pink foods are the color of health

Pink foods are not only visually appealing, but they also offer a wealth of health benefits. Many pink foods are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are essential for maintaining a healthy diet. For example, pink dragonfruit is a good source of vitamin C, while pink Himalayan salt is packed with 84 trace minerals.

Some pink foods, such as beetroot, are known for their detoxifying properties and can help support liver function. Additionally, incorporating pink foods into a diet could help boost overall health, promote healthy skin, and even improve heart health.

And, even if your dish doesn't contain a pink ingredient, the plate (or glass) certainly can.

"I’ve used hibiscus flowers in assorted drinks like lemonade and martinis," says Chef Fricke. "And they're beautiful for garnishing desserts."

For 2023, think pink foods

Pink food offers a multitude of benefits for chefs and restaurant owners right now. From the aesthetic appeal and nutritional benefits to the unique and memorable presentations, incorporating pink foods into your menu can help you generate the excitement you need to keep customers coming back. Get creative and have fun—the possibilities of pink are endless!