2023 food and drink trends
Food and drink specialist Gurdeep Loyal shares his insider predictions for the food industry in 2023, from epicurean upcycling to pleasure pies and 'really posh things on toast'
Want to keep up to date with the latest food trends? Looking for new food and drink products to try in 2023? Check out our predictions for the year ahead, then find deep dives into this year's coffee trends, drinks trends, health trends, restaurant trends and travel trends. We also have our podcast where olive columnist Gurd Loyal explores 10 hot food and drink trends for 2023.
Before exploring the top 10 food and drink trends, there are three overarching macro-themes that underpin 2023…
- Cost of living crisis, penny pinching and frugality.
- Sustainable diets, climate callouts and moves towards plant-based eating.
- Health – everything from immunity-boosting functional foods to beauty foods.
These have been integrated into the mainstream, they’re now more like ‘societal shifts’ versus trends. Keeping that in mind, here are my top 10 food trends for 2023.
Gurdeep Loyal's top 10 food trends for 2023
Forget ‘5-a-day’, it’s all about ‘30-a-week’
Professor Tim Spector popularised the notion of gut health and eating for your microbiome, and his new book Food for Life (£20, Jonathan Cape) takes this a step further with his mantra of aiming to eat 30 different plants a week. These can include fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, herbs and spices – it’s about exposing your gut to a diversity of things. Variety is what makes for good gut health, with fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha, even good chocolate being recommended. Interestingly the book highlights that an americano coffee contains as much fibre as one banana! For more reading around this topic, also check out the book Gene Eating (£14.99, Orion Spring) by Dr Giles Yeo.
Really posh things on toast
Forget avocado on toast, 2023 has moved on to things far more gastronomic! The new Prue Leith book Bliss on Toast (£14.99, Bloomsbury Publishing) has recipes like bubble and squeak with hollandaise on fried bread; and falafel, edamame and red pepper hummus on flatbread. Crab on toast has become a hit at restaurants like The Holland in Kensington where it’s become an Insta-sensation; there’s crab rarebit at the newly relaunched The Barley Mow Mayfair; and even white crab with chilli on toast at Lali Cafe. Snails on toast with lardons and bone marrow is on the menu at Maison François. And the new St John restaurant in Marylebone even does a deep-fried rarebit.
Fire cooking 3.0
Forget American-style, meat-heavy hipster ‘Bro-BBQs’, in 2023 fire cooking is taking on all sorts of global inspiration. Firebird has a Greek/French/Middle Eastern take on fire cooking, while Parillan Borough Yards is the spot where you can cook your own food on tabletop grills (parrillas) as per Basque and Catalonian tradition. Acme Fire Cult is a new cult restaurant in Dalston which has a veg-centric take on fire cooking. Also look out for Meatopia 2023 - the last one was the most globally inspiring ever with The Rangoon Sisters, Akwasi Brenya Mensa from Tatale and Keshia Sakarah.
Chefs are outdoing themselves with creative and delicious ways of using food waste. Waitrose revealed that driven by economy, sustainability, and slow cooking, sales of fish heads, beef shin, ox cheek and lamb neck have soared. One of Fallow’s signature dishes is a cod’s head glazed with homemade sriracha butter, using fish heads from Scotland that are normally thrown back into the sea. They also make a potato bread using leftover potato peelings and salmon mousse using fish bellies which are often discarded. Native runs a ‘Scrappy Hour’ with a menu featuring zero-waste cocktails and ‘wasting snacks’. And Harrods' chocolatiers are making a crunchy-creamy ‘bread & butter' chocolate slab using off-cuts of their signature sourdough.
Meal kits go extra gourmet with the rise of ‘edible education’ upskilling
Oma Kitchen is a new style of immersive culinary learning for four world cuisines – Korean, Malaysian, Mexican and North Indian. Each Oma Kitchen course is made up of three distinct elements: inspiration from a beautifully produced keepsake print magazine with essays exploring the history, culture and practices of the featured cuisine; a hand-picked selection of ingredients; and insight through online learning, accessed via a members’ area, with video tutorials from top chefs. Dishpatch is offering restaurant meal delivery kits from all sorts of interesting chefs and collaborators like Andi Oliver, Ixta Belfrage, St John and Roti King. Damson Academy by Ravneet Gill is offering all the skills of culinary school online. For an IRL experience, Lily Vanilli is teaching the trade secrets of cake decorating through her own class tutorials; and James Martin will soon offer up his own culinary courses at The Lygon Arms hotel in the Cotswolds.
Extra-extra guilty pleasures
In times of uncertainty, we return to old school pleasures that make you feel loved and nod to nostalgic childhood favourites. But in 2023 they’ve become even more ‘extra’…
- Gourmet nuggets and dips: The Suffolk Restaurant in Aldeburgh is serving cod cheek nuggets with curried tartar, while Darby’s in London has crispy pork nuggets, mustard and pickles on the menu. Bun House in Camden has flavour-packed sticky salt lime chicken nuggets while Meatliquor is doing Impossible nuggets with Ardbeg whisky sauce. For a more luscious twist, The Standard in London is doing fried chicken bites with truffle aïoli! Try our gourmet curried chicken nuggets here.
- Butter Burgers: following on from the 2022 craze for butter boards, the butter burger is gaining traction across social media. Originating in a chain called Culvers in Wisconsin, it’s a burger topped with a thick slice of butter which melts into the patty and bun. Check out our ahead-of-the-trend butter burger recipe here.
Pakistani, Afghani and West African cuisines being remixed by diaspora creatives celebrating their own culinary cultures
Pakistani food is getting diners buzzing at Empress Market, whose bun kebab is an explosion of taste. The Instagrammer Zainab Pirzada shares Pakistani recipes on her channel Cooking with Zainab, such as her slow-cooked lamb nihari. Baba Dhaba serves some of the best Pakistani street eats around and Khaao Karachi specialises in Pakistani cheese toasties.
Afghani food is showcased in its delicious glory at Cue Point's British-Afghani fusion BBQ; while Two Lads Kitchen in Camden Market in Hawley Wharf serves 24-hour marinated chicken thighs, and ashak vegetable dumplings.
West African cuisine is the focus of Ayo Adeyemi, executive chef at Akoko restaurant. In 2023 Chishuru and Ikoyi will both be transforming their restaurants into brand new versions of themselves – ones to watch!
Pure pleasure pies
The pie that’s blowing up Instagram is the lobster pie at Mount St Restaurant, which takes the classic stargazy pie to new levels. Jeremy Lee’s book has a whole section on pies from Quo Vadis restaurant. And one of my favourite recipes in my new cookbook Mother Tongue, out in March, is the masala brisket pie which has a rich, aromatic slow-cooked filling and bright-yellow buttery turmeric crust.
Secret dining rooms and ‘clubbing-party-dining’
There’s a return to roaring 20’s-style clandestine dining rooms and dining experiences that merge eating with clubbing. At Caia restaurant they have a changing DJ lineup, Mark Hix is taking over the food at the legendary Groucho Club in Soho London in 2023, and the recently opened Bacchanalia is a new restaurant focussed on decadence. Velvet is a new hidden bar at the Corinthia Hotel, nestled behind a velvet curtain. And Upstairs at the George is a new secret dining space from James Knappett of Kitchen Table @ Bubbledogs fame, serving gastro-pub food with a fine-dining twist.
Hot trends in wines and spirits
Lesser-known Mediterranean wine regions: particularly wines from the islands of Formentera and Tenerife which have unique grape varietals that make for zingy and minerally wine. Lebanese wine makers like IXSIR are taking a Burgundy-style approach to producing really unique wines that dive into the micro-climates of the area. And Greek wines from Crete are popping up on a lot of menus. Vin jaune (yellow wine) from the Jura Region and boxed wines will also be big in 2023
Ultrasonic spirits and cocktails: using ultrasound waves to extract and infuse drinks with new flavours or age them – a rapid process that produces a purer, more intense flavour. Hepple Gin gets you to the heart of juniper’s flavour by using the technology of ultrasonic infusion to rapidly age its bottled martini on juniper wood. Johnnie Walker is using this technology at its Princess Street experience in Edinburgh; and Puddingstone Distillery uses ultrasonic waves to extract from the botanicals used in its Ultrasonic Gin.