Food Trends | Full Service Restaurant

4 Health Trends to Bring to Your Menu in 2022

Dec 15, 2021

4 Health Trends to Bring to Your Menu in 2022

New Year’s resolutions and the end of the holidays mean health is top-of-mind for consumers.

The pandemic had already thrust health in the spotlight, with one-third of consumers reporting that COVID-19 made them more focused on immunity. Over a quarter of consumers say healthy eating is part of a healthy lifestyle.1

After the indulgent holiday season and with New Year’s resolutions in full swing, consumers will be eager for foods that help them improve and maintain their health.

What trends can you capitalize on in 2022 to appeal to health-conscious consumers?

4 health food trends on the rise in 2022

We’ve highlighted four top health food trends to help operators attract new customers and keep regulars coming back for more.

  1. Fruit and vegetable-focused
    Consumers of all ages are eager to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet this year. Across four generations, fruits and vegetables ranked highest among foods that consumers are trying to eat more of. Eating more fruit is a top priority for Gen Z (people born 1998 to 2016), with 49% of this generation consuming more of it.2

    Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into new and existing dishes to appeal to consumers’ tastes in the year ahead. LTOs are a great way to showcase seasonal vegetables and fruits while keeping your menu fresh. Swap out meat for roasted, flavorful vegetables like cauliflower and root vegetables in dishes. On-trend cauliflower rice, which has grown 682% on menus over the past four years, serves as an alternative to pasta or rice.3

    Preparing fruit- and veggie-heavy dishes doesn’t have to be labor-intensive, either. Using high-quality prepared products, like ready-to-eat frozen fruits and vegetables, helps reduce labor and waste to keep costs low.

    On-trend products to consider
    Simplot Simple Goodness™ Cauliflower
    Simplot RoastWorks® RTE Flame-Roasted Fuji Apples

  2. Functional foods and superfoods
    With 40% of consumers planning to increase their consumption of superfoods or functional foods in the next year, it’s time to highlight these items on your menu.4

    In the past, health has been centered around lowering and maintaining weight. That’s not the case anymore. Consumers no longer equate healthy with ‘low-fat’ and ‘low-calorie.’ Patrons today are more interested in functional, nutritious superfoods that keep them healthy and prevent disease.

    Superfoods aren’t any more time-consuming than any other type of ingredients. Look to high-quality prepared and pre-cooked products that can go from freezer to plate in minutes. Superfoods and functional foods like ancient grains, greens, avocados, berries, nuts, and seeds come together beautifully in bowls, another top trending menu item.5

    On-trend products to consider
    Simplot Harvest Fresh™ Avocados Diced Avocado

  3. Health-forward comfort
    Since the pandemic’s beginning, consumer research and sales numbers have made it clear that patrons are craving comfort foods.6 But they’re also not looking for the same heavy dishes of the past. Health-forward items like plant-based burgers and buffalo cauliflower “wings” are among the top-growing trends on menus, reflecting consumers’ preference for satisfying, healthier versions of their favorite comfort foods.7

    Appeal to consumers’ desire for comfort and health with fresh takes on their favorite comfort foods. Take cauliflower wings, which have grown 1098% on menus over the past four years.8 Chickpea pizza and pasta are trending items as well. Health-forward comfort dishes that don’t sacrifice flavor will continue to serve up what customers crave most.

    On-trend products to consider
    Simplot Harvest Fresh™ Avocados Western Guacamole
    Simplot RoastWorks® RTE Roasted Mediterranean Vegetable Blend
    Simplot SeasonedCRISP® Delivery+® Savory Battered 14 Cut Wedge

  4. Earth-friendly foods
    For today’s consumers, personal health is connected to the health of the planet. As a result, climatarian diets are on the rise, with patrons increasingly interested in items with a lower carbon footprint. Higher costs aren’t necessarily a turn-off, either — 43% of consumers report they’ll pay more for items with lower-carbon footprints.9 Moving into 2022, we can expect to see more operators and manufacturers highlighting the carbon footprint of products on menus and packaging.

    Appeal to carbon-conscious consumers by highlighting meat-free menu items. Meat-free dishes can be leveraged on your operation’s social media to attract new and returning customers. Another cost-effective way to appeal to this trend is to highlight local suppliers on your menu. This gives you the opportunity to create unique, seasonal menus that add exclusivity to your restaurant, attracting new customers and bringing regulars back to try something new.

    On-trend products to consider
    Simplot Good Grains™ Thai Style Red Quinoa & Vegetable Blend
    Simplot RoastWorks® Roasted Rosemary Redskin Potatoes

Health-forward is here to stay

With health a primary focus for consumers through 2022, patrons will choose dining options that appeal to their health goals and their taste buds. Following the holidays, this season is the perfect time to attract new customers to your operation and bring regulars back using high-quality, ready-to-eat products that capitalize on these four health trends.

1, 2, 3 Datassential Trendspotting, Vol. 94
4 New Foundations in Health Keynote Report, 2021
5 Datassential MenuTrends™, 2020
6 National Restaurant Association, 2021 Top Restaurant Trends
7, 8 Datassential Trendspotting, Vol. 94
 9 New Foundations in Health Keynote Report, 2021