Foodable's 2019 Predictions for the Restaurant Industry

Predictions are always a love-hate thing for me each year, it means I have to look deep into the industry and into my past 20+ years of reporting, indexing and analyzing with the leading foodservice operators in the world. Sometimes this analysis reveals the good times to come for the industry and sometimes it does not.

Last year, six out of eight of my predictions were right, most of which were easy to consider, but if you think about the timing in 2017 to detect these market shifts you have to be somewhat of a fortune teller and very lucky to get these right.

I was right on with plant-based menu items taking off, coffee trends ramping up infusions and even the beverage industry taking a hit in spirits, wine, and beer, the most troubling was the 8 percent overall drop in the industry prediction that turned out to be pretty accurate at 7.8 percent, according to our Foodable Labs data.  

2017 was not a great year for many, but the few emerging brands that excel did so in double-digit fashion.  

Unfortunately, I don't think this can continue. The bigger concern I have for 2019 is the overall health of our industry. Closings will continue like always but we will see some closures of brands we may have thought to be bulletproof just a few years ago.

Without further ado, let’s move on to my 2019 Predictions

Check the video above for more of my commentary on these predictions, but this will give a quick read on where I think the restaurant industry is going in 2019.

Plant-based is on a maverick of a wave that I don't see slowing down anytime soon, in fact, my recommendation to any protein producer is diversification and to double down on quality and animal welfare.

Facebook is in real trouble with the foodservice and foodie crowd with continued falling engagement levels to that of 2014. I don't see this turning around for the platform at all and the move to Instagram ads and destroying that platform may be their only hope before the feds scoop in with regulation.

I fear the ultimate breach will occur with foodservice, If I were Starbucks, I would Fort Knox that mobile app before we see a big hit on what could affect as many as 1 billion consumers. Big tech will continue to get pushback from consumers and though 2019 won't be the year for deregulation 2020 will be a campaign trail mantra for sure.

Airbnb, Amazon, and Uber will all reach a new level of innovation in food, and not in the ways you might think.

Amazon will take a new role as a ghost restaurant operator, Airbnb will take up restaurant reservations, and Uber will have to go head to head with the industry to win out in the delivery game

The emerging 150 brands will continue their trek on obliviating the competition. Watch out for a few of them that will dominate in the regional game like never before.

And unfortunately, the small craft beer makers will start to fall with a downturn in drinking trends and craft beer consumption falling. We will instead see a new landscape of how craft brewers will go to market, let the brew mergers begin.

Like every year, some of my predictions are outside the box and thinking in ways that others don't. What I have found is that if you follow consumer science, technology, and food you have some insights to a crossover matrix that starts to provide early indicators to trends that go unnoticed even in today's always on social media barrage of information.

If you're in the business, this will either be your best or worst year in the last decade. Think of it like this– to quote one of my favorite sayings by Louis Pasteur, “Chance favors the prepared mind” see ya on the backside.

The Health Trends That Will Be More Prevalent in 2019

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Shutterstock

The healthy eating movement has transitioned from a diet to a lifestyle for many consumers. With that in mind, health food trends only continue to gain momentum.  

Each year, new trends emerge but not every trend goes mainstream.

So what will 2019 bring?

The healthy snack company Kind released a new trend report with collected data from 5,000 food and beverage experts to determine what will reign next year.

One trend expected to become more prevalent come 2019 is infused water.

But it’s not just favorites like cucumber water and lemon water–maple water and other unusual flavors will be served that offer nutritional benefits.

“Take cactus water, for instance, it’s generally lower in calories and sugar than traditional coconut water, and provides lots of betalain antioxidants for promoting skin revitalization, according to Jackie Newgent, RDN, culinary nutritionist and KIND Snacks spokesperson,” writes “Forbes.”

Then there’s the plant-based movement, which exploded in 2018, according to recent Foodable Labs data.  

New vegan-friendly proteins are popping up on menus across the country and that isn’t going to stop in 2019.

“In 2019, expect more meat-alternatives in the market, including plants, insects, lentils, soy, dairy-free protein alternatives going mainstream. Aside from the innovations highlighting nuts, extruded seeds, beans, water lentils and algae in snack bars, chips, meat-free burgers or sausages and dairy-free yogurts and cheeses, one of the most exciting developments is cell-based meat—namely meat and protein extracted from animals’ cells without killing the animal at all,” writes “Forbes.” 

The CBD craze is also going to be taken to the next level in the New Year. CBD, the legal cannabis compound, has been used as a herbal remedy for a long time. But just recently, CBD has been infused in cocktails, coffee beverages and olive oil. 2019 will bring even more CBD infusions like CBD-infused yogurts, salad dressings and more. 

Listen to this recent episode of The Barron Report below to learn how CBD is making an impact in the foodservice industry.

Check out the other food and health trends outlined in the Kind’s report at “Forbes” now.