In 2017 we anticipated low ABV spirits and hard seltzers to take more of a role in our drinking culture and small towns would become big draws; in 2018 it was alternative milks; in late 2019, we called it – Lasagna would become the new kale— and not long after, we noticed that lasagna was getting more buzz than your Nonna’s holiday dinner menu. And throw-back cocktails? We sensed that they’d return, and it came as no surprise when the Ketel One Espresso Martini got a makeover and made its red-carpet debut as the official cocktail of the 2021 Emmy Awards. Not to mention orange wine, donuts as the “new” cupcakes and duck eggs. And while we don’t take credit for these trends becoming “a thing”, we certainly have an eye for what’s next.
As we get ready to enter a new year, we can all agree – there’s a lot to look forward to. But a weary world leaves us to ponder… what’s next? And after almost two years of uncertainty, it seems we’re unapologetically staking our claim, all while clinging to a bit of familiarity. Here’s what we think will be big in 2022 and beyond, based on the “small” data we’re seeing and the subtle chatter we’re hearing…
The New, New of Wine, Beer, and Spirits
When the spirit moves, one ought to listen. The alcohol industry has seen seismic shifts, like mass-produced to locally-crafted, and now it’s seeing another substantial change but in that of demographics.
Maybe it’s because of overindulgence during the early days of the pandemic or a new “less-is-more” attitude. Either way, Millennials and Gen Z are drinking less alcohol but spending more when they do – even if that means imbibing on a zero-proof. This isn’t surprising since these generations make it more about the experience, inclusivity, and consciousness.
We’ve all seen the wine clubs and subscription-based tastings, yet VIVANT, one of the first virtual wine experience, provides consumers flights (of wine) while taking them directly to the vineyards. This platform connects organic winemakers with a new generation of consumers sharing the benefits of organic wine – for the drinker and the planet – while inviting them to travel the world of wine without ever leaving home. Variants be damned!
When outdoor clothing guru Patagonia gets into the natural drink game, you know it’s here to stay. Patagonia Provisions’ newly launched naturally fermented beverages include wine, cider, and sake; and appeal to Millennials and Gen Z due to their sustainability and lack of “toxic pesticides.” And, they taste pretty darn good, too.
Another significant shift is that of alcohol and sex (gender, that is). Not only are “70% of all beverage alcohol purchase decisions made by women,” according to Market Watch, but women have become leaders in the previously male-dominated industry, bringing with them new takes on old givens.
An excellent illustration of both trends – drinking less while spending more and women leading the way – is Chelsea DeMark. As Beverage Director at Bar Julian at the Thompson Savannah hotel, DeMark creates inventive cocktails that are zero-proof. For instance, her River Park Promenade mocktail, composed of Ritual Zero Proof gin, mandarin, peach, black tea, and lime, puts a fresh spin on a classic – it’s not your grandma’s sweet tea, it’s better.
As for women taking over? Look no further than the inspiration of Ron Zacapa Centenario’s own Lorena Vásquez, who became the country’s first female Master Blender and heralded as the ‘Guardian Angel of Rum’. Then there’s Rita Jammet, born in Saudi Arabia to an Iraqi family, founder and Chief Bubble Officer of La Caravelle Wines and Champagne, who was bestowed the Order of Agricultural Merit by France’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food. And Lilia Perez, winemaker at RG/NY (Long Island), born to Mexican immigrants in Sacramento, CA, is recognized for bringing an international perspective to the wine industry.
Then there are organizations like the Bâtonnage Forum, founded by women for those who identify as women, that are making strides to promote diversity within the industry by increasing representation for BIPOC and LGBTQIA people, with more than 60 percent of the speakers identifying as such.
The list goes on and on, as it should!
Oh C’mon, Get a Shroom
If you aren’t seeing mushrooms popping up in your every day, you must be living under a rock…well, they pop up there, too – but you know what we mean. From being a daily topic on newscasts and online publications to appearing on fashion and home decor, and of course spanning the medicinal industry, mushrooms are getting their long-deserved moment in the sun.
Move over cannabis club because the mushroom lounge is the future gathering place. Medicinal mushrooms have been used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years and only continue to gain traction. The list of medicinal mushrooms’ health benefits is becoming lengthy – think brain booster, hormone helper, antioxidant powerhouse. So when celebrities like Jaden and Jada Pinkett Smith sit for a Red Table Talk to discuss mushrooms, widely seen as a miracle treatment for mental health, you know a movement is seeing an upward trajectory.
Another increased use of mushrooms is in the food and beverage industry. Charles J. Ciarrocchi Jr, president and CEO of Modern Mushroom Farms shares, “The market today is being driven by healthy eating and mushrooms are at the forefront, growing at a rate of 6% each year.” Yeah, yeah, we know, you’ve been using mushrooms in your recipes forever, but with continual increases in places like teas, coffees (we’re looking at you MUD/WTR), and even as a meat substitute, there are more places for mushrooms besides just atop your favorite dish.
For example, Chef Tom Colicchio is embracing the culinary magic of fungi as an investor in Meati Foods. This vegan meat company makes proteins from mycelium, which is the root structure of mushrooms. So thanks to their diversity and reputation as a superfood, it’s turned mushrooms into the billion-dollar industry it is today.
Even the travel industry is getting into the shroom game. With all-inclusive magic mushroom retreats becoming the new luxury ‘trip’, people are using their post-pandemic vacation time to recenter and find themselves. So book your shroom today!
From alternative travel to alternative meat, it really is becoming a shroom boom.
The 3M’s That Stuck
Self-care has never had so much attention until these last few years showed us how crucial it was. When space becomes smaller and limiting, finding room for the essentials is required. The problem was, many didn’t know what those essentials were until it was nearly too late. From mental health to mood and menopause, it didn’t take long for these three M’s to go from backroom whispers to posting on platforms.
Mood retreats are on the rise. Carefully curated experiences offer guests a specialized space away from the stresses of everyday life where you spend your time focusing on mind, body, and spirit; and include integrative wellness offerings. A great example of this is Patina Maldives, Fari Islands. Guests take part in a well-being philosophy termed FLOW. This system serves to gain insight into sleep, mindfulness, nutrition, fun, and fitness. Focusing on these lifestyle habits assists in understanding how best to promote self-wellness during and after the retreat.
The conversations around mental health have evolved over the last decade (and even more so during the last couple of years), so when discussing vitamins and supplements, it no longer revolves around just physical wellbeing. Instead, vitamin brands are expanding their offerings to include mental health support. For example, the Wind Down collection from Country Life has you covered in both mind and body.
Last but certainly not least is the one “M” that has never really gotten the public discourse it so rightfully deserves. Menopause might be the one naturally occurring stage in life that has gotten swept under the carpet, but that’s changing.
With public figures like Michelle Obama speaking out openly, it’s starting to feel like the stigma is finally breaking. We’re even seeing safe spaces getting carved out for those needing support, like Brooke Shields’ Beginning Is Now and Let’s Talk Menopause. Furthermore, thanks to publishings like Dr. Jen Gunter’s Menopause Manifesto, resources are no longer limited to pamphlets.
Instead of looking at it as a time for social distancing, maybe we should have been looking at it as an opportunity for getting closer with ourselves.
With Olive, Our Love
If anything can move from martini ornamentation to topic of conversation, we’re placing our bets on the olive. The Instagram star has been finding its way into everything we know and love, like really love, like ice cream type love. All because the fruit itself, with its oil counterpart, is seeing a rejuvenation that’ll leave olive you excited (pun intended)!
The ancient fruit’s extracted nectar replaces dairy as the base ingredient in Wildgood Ice Cream, a new frozen dessert brand from Founder Sotiris Tsichlopoulos. The aim was to create a sustainable, plant-based premium ice cream without the sacrifices. The result? Well, read for yourself.
Speaking of fresh takes, pro-bartenders have been creating a riff on the classic dirty martini by “fat-washing” the spirits. This infusion technique uses fresh, pungent, and high-quality extra-virgin olive oil, resulting in delicious flavor and texture.
Olive Oil is even making its way into travel. Tasting Rooms are being added to itineraries and becoming “go-to” destinations. For instance, Croatia’s Chiavalon has an Olive Oil Retreat where guests taste, learn, and see their way through the groves. In Napa, olive oil sensory evaluation expert Orietta Gianjorio leads group sessions to educate guests about quality standards and pairing techniques.
It’s not just what’s inside the cruet that’s getting a rejuvenation, either. Companies like Mr. Pete’s are giving the traditional bottle a facelift with its high-design exterior making olive oil look as pleasing in your kitchen as it does on your pasta.
What’s notable about the olive right now is that it’s reputation is thriving at a time when the crops are actually struggling. According to Nancy Ash at Strictly Olive Oil, in 2021 alone, a spring freeze devastated crops in Europe, while a dangerous plant illness killed Italy’s summer harvest. So to help counter such devastations, organizations are offering customers the ability to adopt an olive tree and receive ongoing deliveries of the precious oil – direct from tree to table.
So when you see the continual emergence of this underdog fruit, just remember you heard about it from olive us fans first.
Now that we’re (kinda) back to life as we knew it, everyone and everything is luxxing it up. After the last few years of compromises and life’s offerings becoming limited, consumers are starting to spoil themselves. With the pandemic revealing the importance of self-care, consumers are treating themselves to everything from healthier food offerings to beneficial experiences. And they’re willing to pay for it.
After adding extra pounds at the beginning of lock-down, many realized its effect on both their mental and physical health. As a result, high-end experiences, like that found at Patina Hotels Maldives, offer guests the option to order from an entire menu dedicated to just plant-based foods.
And it’s not just humans who are getting in on an upgraded diet. Founded by Nacho Flay and his dad Chef Bobby Flay, Made by Nacho is a full menu of cat-crafted cat food made exclusively for cats – with some recipes even featuring bone broth for added health and hydration.
We even see a merge of food and fine art uniting into one therapeutic experience. A great example of this would be The Gallery by Odo, located in NYC, with Michelin-rated Chef Hiroki Odo creating a menu inspired by the art around him at The Gallery itself.
As if Goop has not glamourized everyday items enough, Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness and lifestyle brand is taking travel to the next level with its latest luxury, Goop at Sea. This voyage aims for a restorative experience through holistic wellness programming and products in partnership with Celebrity Cruises.
It’s beginning to make sense why we’ve all gone from upended to upgraded.
Send Them Snacking
Last year we saw an uptick in solo dining, so it stands to reason with reopenings and lifestyles heading towards a more familiar pace that many are beginning to juggle their schedules again. But, of course, with that comes having to balance life’s necessities.
A recent Harris Poll conducted with Mondelez International, one of the world’s largest snack companies, revealed eating habits are changing due to increased snacking. Nearly half of those polled, and 70% of Millennials, say they’re snacking more and eating fewer main meals due to conditions like working from home.
In addition, we see this trend taking off, as food and drink flights continue to be on the rise. For instance, Morning Glory’s flights of hot chocolate are wildly popular, as are Snooze A.M. Eatery’s pancake flights. With so many options in these categories, why should you have to pick just one anyways?
Samplers are also the way to go, and we’re seeing them offered everywhere. Magnolia Bakery’s Banana Pudding sampler is the brand’s top seller, while Katz’s Delicatessen provides an array of sharable faves and is an indecisive diner’s dream.
Although we’ll always have a place in our heart (and stomach) for our favorite meals from the past, it looks like we’re going ‘snack’ to the future.
These days, sustainable and straightforward are the way to go. So it stands to reason that businesses are leaning into this model to meet their customers where they are. Food and Beverage are no exception. They’re making the process as easy and streamlined for consumers as ever before.
Look no further than Ensemble Kitchen for a streamlined “Many Restaurants. One Order” approach, combining all four restaurants with distinctly different menus onto one delivery platform. This one-stop shop, not only makes it super simple to order dinner online but even easier to satisfy everyone’s cravings.
Nothing says straightforward like Skirt Steak, Laurent Tourondel’s newest restaurant. It’s rethinking the dining experience by proposing very few options for its patrons: skirt steak or the vegetarian option, making it easier on both the kitchen and the guest.
How better to meet the customer where they are than directly on their screen? Virtual events are wildly popular, and VIVANT, an organic and sustainable wine company, brings tastings to your door and explorations to your screens, allowing consumers to travel to different regions of the world through each sip.
Companies globally are innovating new ways to do business. Bullfrog + Baum is no different. We’ve introduced Bullhorn, a popular new concept allowing clients to hop on for help for as little or as long as they need through a cost-effective, impactful subscription service.
With these new ways to do biz, it’s proving that business CAN be combined with pleasure.
Another One Bites the Crust
Yes, yes. We know. Pizza has always been a trend. Duh. But we believe this low-cost, easily accessible Instagram treasure will continue to grow and evolve. From Unlimited Frees at Domino’s to the ultimate farm-to-crust from Hilltown Hot Pies, pizza continues to be a fan favorite and a trend we refuse to give up on.
You don’t have to take our word for it, either. The U.S. pizza market is expected to grow by $42.20 million between 2021 and 2025, according to a Technavio report. A significant reason for the rise in popularity stems from expanding options. Need a vegan pizza? You got it. Are you trying to stay on track for keto? No problem. Is someone in your group demanding “real cheese”? Ok, but it won’t come cheap.
We’re also seeing varying styles of pizza gaining traction in the ever ebb and flowing taste of the general public. For example, Detroit-style pizza is soaring right now – from Hudson & Packard in Poughkeepsie, NY to Lions, Tigers and Squares in NYC. Even unconventional toppings are having a moment – from pickles at Joe’s Suprema Pizza in NYC to Domino’s Chicken Taco Pizza.
With this expansion of personalizing pizzas, we see an uptick in consumers wanting to make pies for themselves. Chef Dan Richer, who owns and operates Razza – the renowned restaurant that arguably has some of the best pizza globally – recently published The Joy of Pizza. Where the best pizza in the world teaches how to make the best pizza in your home. We’re even seeing pizza-making classes (coming soon to PDA midtown) gaining in popularity. It starts to explain why more people than ever are using at-home pizza ovens, like Ooni, and loving it.
The last trend taking a slice of the action is how we receive our pizza. Since Covid hit, there’s been a growing demand for rapid delivery and take away options. Online grocery stores and delivery services nationwide have fueled frozen pizza delivery opportunities. At the same time, many pizza joints started offering take-and-bake options. So those who were limited to their home or neighborhood could make the pie when convenient for them.
With pizza this popular, if you’re not eating it, you’re just a weirdough.
And a few more we’re keeping our eyes on…true throwback cocktails (can you say Pink Lady?), zero-proof wines, western New York (yes, we’re still obsessed) pet everything and unlikely food x fashion collaborations. We’ll see you in 2022 and see where this all lands!