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HEALTH

Boosting well-being

From comfort cuisine, touchless ordering and choices prioritizing health and sustainability, how will Canadians’ culinary experiences change in 2022?

2021 saw an increased spotlight on physical and mental well-being, and many food and beverage brands are meeting the growing consumer demand for healthy, organic and simple but quality food, beverages and ingredients. Others go even further – to create food and beverages designed to enhance mental well-being. Beverage brands like Boreal Botanical Brewing are stepping up their game with adaptogenic drinks, beverages that contain ingredients that work to prevent the negative effects of stress on the body. And the superfood beetroot is now joining ingredients known for boosting nutritional and circulatory health in Dairy Farmers of Ontario’s new Grass Fed Organic Beetroot Honey Yogurt.

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Ingredient awareness

Today’s consumers want to know what’s in the food they choose – and they want foods jam-packed with nutrients. Brands like Ardent Mills are working to bring simple quality ingredients into the spotlight with their in-house-made breads, pastas and gluten-free pizza dough. Others, like Loop Mission, are using otherwise rejected products to minimize food waste while informing consumers of what is going into their beverages.

High spirits without buzz

Socializing – and sharing food and drinks – were among the key things Canadians missed during the pandemic. While social gatherings can make us feel inclined to drink, more and more companies – like Grüvi and Seedlip – are looking to make such settings more inclusive by creating delicious non-alcoholic beverages that can be consumed anywhere and anytime. Alcohol-free drinks are also a staple at Rival House and Lyres, whose range of award-winning crafted non-alcoholic spirits are paying homage to classic favourites. These boundary-pushing non-alcoholic spirits provide the perfect alternative for patrons looking to socialize without alcohol.

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BUSINESS SOLUTIONS

Specialty direct-to-customer food

Bringing products and experiences directly to consumers’ doorsteps has been a winning strategy for many brands. Canadian-based company Giraffe Foods is taking restaurant products – in particular, custom sauces and signature flavours – directly to diners, thereby helping brands break into the retail space.

Restaurant and beverage kits, subscriptions Innovative solutions allow Canadians to enjoy a custom culinary experience at home. Brands like Ascari Group, for example, offer kits filled to the brim with house-made fare, curated premium luxury food products, and premium spirits and mixes. Award-winning beverage expert – and one of RC Show’s bar curators – Evelyn Chick recently introduced Love of Cocktails, a place for people to connect, enjoy virtual cocktail-making sessions and order customized cocktail kits to their home. Others, such as Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, General Assembly Pizza and Chefdrop , have created premium meal kits from top chefs and restaurants.

Alfresco dining

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Many bars and restaurants turned to outdoor dining to help alleviate the stress of reduced indoor capacities and ease customers back into dining out. Businesses like Unichairs Inc. and Pop Up Street Patios offer support for turning limited outdoor spaces into stunning temporary patios. To cope with colder temperatures, brands like Bum Contract and Mensa Heaters provide heating solutions that turn even the coldest Canadian climate into a cozy alfresco dining experience.


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SUSTAINABILITY

Waste reduction

Consumers and brands are now taking a collaborative approach to reducing food waste and advancing environmentally friendly dining decisions. Apps like Too Good to Go give customers the option to connect with restaurants and save surplus food from going to waste. RESTOVERT/ RESTOGREEN aims to create an eco-responsible catering network, while Alfred Technologies works directly with companies and restaurants to prevent inventory waste. Waterwise is tackling different elements of the industry’s carbon footprint, focusing on both consumer and environmental health through sustainable, custom water purification systems.

Meal upcycling

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While some brands are working directly with consumers to reduce food waste, others are reworking ingredients through upcycling and food scrap cooking to contribute to a circular economy. Brands like Trendi are using “ugly” foods that would have been thrown away to create meal kits, and Upcycled Food Fest is encouraging restaurants to innovate and bring the conversation surrounding food waste to the forefront by incorporating upcycled ingredients into their menus.

Innovative and responsible packaging

Packaging is also starting to get a facelift as diners move away from traditional single-use plastics to more sustainable alternatives. Consumers are looking for brands that consider their carbon footprint at every step, from food production to packaging and distribution. Companies like Calibre and Evanesce are turning to biodegradable and compostable materials for packaging.


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TECH

Apps and robot retail

Robot retail is making its way into our dining experiences – from sanitation and disinfection to serving and hosting – to ensure everyone’s comfort and safety. Brands like GreenCo Robots are leading the charge of robotics-led dining experiences, bringing innovative and high-tech solutions to problems brought about by the pandemic. Another technology-powered solution utilizes virtual farmers’ market apps such as Bae Greens or brands such as Goodleaf Farms, which work to bring organic and vertically grown greens directly to the end-user.

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Contact-free everything

The hospitality industry had to adapt to conditions shaped by the pandemic, and contactless services have been part of the solution. QR codes, touchless menus and payment options are just some of the new procedures foodservice venues have adopted. Brands like BarConnect and Mealsy have provided tools designed to create a safer space, reduce food waste, lower labour costs, increase table turnover and provide faster service at the same time – as well as help companies and put customers’ minds at ease with automatic and digital vaccination certification options.

Discover all these trends and more at RC Show 2022, May 9 to 11, Canada’s leading foodservice and hospitality trade show. Visit rcshow.com to learn more.


Advertising feature produced by Randall Anthony Communications with Restaurants Canada. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved