Food & Drink

SquareMeal’s Predictions on Food Trends for 2024: The rise of AI chefs, insects on your plate and culinary consciousness

Want to know what 2024 has in store in the world of food and restaurants? The experts at SquareMeal have some big trend predictions for 2024. Speaking to chefs, restaurants and diners UK-wide, SquareMeal has complied the ultimate guide of what they predict is to come in 2024:

SquareMeal’s Restaurants Editor, Pete Dreyer introduces the SquareMeal trends they expect to see coming to the industry in 2024, predicting boundaries will be pushed.  Pete says:

“There is no escaping the fact that much of the hospitality industry is still recovering from the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit, while at the same time battling rising produce costs and escalating energy rates.

“However, it’s not all doom and gloom! Despite the challenges, there’s plenty to be excited about within food itself. UK restaurants continue to push the boundaries year after year, showing phenomenal dynamism and resilience, while lifting the ceiling of British food higher and higher.”

 

The rise of AI-chefs

Pete explains: “Forget the doom harbingers and the end of humanity for a minute – 2024 could be the year that AI completely changes the way we cook and eat at home – for the better.”

Never before has there been a one-size-fits-all solution that marries cooking instructions, technical help and recipe ideas on the fly. Time is valuable. Many of us want to spend less time cooking but still enjoy good food at home. Mintel’s annual Global Food and Drink Trends Report highlighted the chance for technology to usher in ‘a new era of convenience’, and AI has the potential to be a huge time and cost saving tool, whether that is providing recipe suggestions based on the contents of your fridge, or generating recipes and shopping lists to fit your food preferences and budget.

Insects are coming to a plate near you

Pete continues: “The arrival of insects into our diets has been predicted for years, but 2024 might finally be the year that these protein-rich little critters finally break through. Nutritious and easy to farm, insects solve a fair few food chain issues.”

There are companies like Saved and Yum Bug that are developing all sorts of products, from snack packs to full-on restaurant-quality meals. Yum Bug even has a restaurant open in Shoreditch where you can try dishes like sourdough with cricket miso butter, and sesame-crusted polpette with cucumber, kohlrabi and chilli salad, where all the protein comes from crickets.

Culinary consciousness driving vegan and vegetarian menus

Vegan and vegetarian cooking is nothing new, but there’s still a high ceiling when it comes to the potential of creative plant-based food. Restaurants like Tendril in London and Land in Birmingham are blazing a new trail, for what can be achieved with vegetables.

 

Non-alcoholic drinks and pairings are here for more than just dry January

Previously seen as an inferior option for designated drivers and non-drinkers, non-alcoholic pairings are finally coming into their own, particularly as we become more health and budget conscious. Sommelier Honey Spencer even offers a half-and-half pairing to go with the seasonal tasting menu at Evelyn’s Table – a brilliant idea that we expect to see more of. Meanwhile, distilleries and producers like Salcombe Gin in Devon and Three Spirit in London are making some exceptional non-alcoholic drinks that have huge pairing potential.

 

The return of the Martini

Pete Dreyer: “Our obsession with tequila and mezcal in 2023 saw us chucking back Margaritas like there was no tomorrow, but next year has something more elegant in store. Martinis have been on a meteoric rise for a few years now – first we had Pornstar Martinis, then Espresso Martinis, but get ready for more interesting takes on this iconic drink in 2024.”

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