Top Hospitality Trends for 2023

As the world’s largest foodservice company, we’re always looking at what’s on the horizon and developing solutions that address the major trends. Using our vast amount of data from serving tens of thousands of customers across the globe daily, combined with market research from E15, our in-house data and analytics company, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 hospitality trends to watch in 2023.

Our data suggests that as we continue to emerge from the pandemic, there is a shift from a high focus on safety, sanitation and contactless experiences to trends that are more experiential with human interactions. The desire for sustainable menus and packaging continues to grow, as does the focus on health and wellness with a greater emphasis on fresh, clean eating and label transparency. With inflation still at high levels, value has become more important than ever.

We invite you to take a look at the full list of our top 10:

  1. An increase in reusable to-go ware. 
    • Food establishments are experimenting with return on-the-go packaging programs, where food is served in reusable to-go ware and guests are given incentives to return them to the location or a drop-off point. Reusable to-go ware also lowers costs and carbon emissions.
  2. Inflation relief is on the horizon, yet economic uncertainty remains.
    • The USDA reported that overall food inflation will increase by 3% to 4% in 2023. This is much lower compared to 2022, but still above historical averages. Labor costs are also primed to increase in 2023 by an average of 8% in 26 states. The food industry will continue to experience economic drawbacks at the start of 2023.
  3. Loyalty programs keep customers returning.
    • With food costs continuing to rise, consumers are more value-conscious than ever and are spending their food dollars cautiously. Loyalty programs with free incentives are gaining popularity and expanding beyond the standard “buy-x-get-next-free” punch card model.
  4. The digital order revolution is slowing.
    • Over the prior three years, companies have focused on the digital restaurant experience as the COVID-19 pandemic forced the world into an accelerated tech transformation. In 2023, there may be a drop in digital appeal, as consumers seek human connection with the companies they engage with.
  5. Plant-based to petri-based.
    • Twelve percent of Americans claim they eat plant-based as a general diet. However, most Americans still consume meat. Enter cultured-meat, or meat produced by culturing animal cells in vitro, which started development in the early 2000s but is expected to hit U.S. shelves in 2023.
  6. Global food further expands into grains and unique desserts.
    • Global cuisines continue to be popular among consumers, with 74% interested in new international flavors. Grains and desserts gain traction on global menus to excite and engage guests with lower-cost ingredients.
  7. Healthy food in 2023 is considered fresh, low in sugar and functional.
    • More Americans are dieting than ever, with the most common diets being clean eating, mindful eating, calorie-counting and plant-based. The top benefit sought from food is increasing energy. Americans are avoiding salt and sugar.
  8. Consumers want clean labels they can trust.
    • Four in 10 Americans bought products with allergen labeling over the past year, and with many following diets and avoiding ingredients, clean labeling is an easy way for consumers to understand what they’re buying.
  9. Young diners seek experiences and friends’ feedback.
    • Roughly half of Gen Zers and millennials embrace new dining experiences and visit new restaurants monthly or more. When choosing restaurants, both generations rely on feedback and recommendations from friends, family and social media.
  10. Gen Z syncs with social subcultures.
    • Ninety-one percent of 18- to 25-year-olds believe mainstream pop culture is a thing of the past. Gen Zers engage with small niches or subcultures built around personalized interests rather than a traditional “mass culture.”

About E15

E15, our in-house industry-leading business intelligence firm, uses data and advanced methodologies to reveal opportunities for improvement and innovation. E15’s experts use historical consumer data and market research to uncover patterns, correlations and actionable insights. Compass Group leverages this data to make informed decisions, optimize business operations and enhance the consumer experience.

E15 relied on a variety of sources to identify the top 10 trends, including Datassential, the International Food Information Council, the United States Department of Agriculture, Technomic, Food Navigator, and more.

Setting and matching the trends

As a forward-thinking foodservice company, Compass Group has been working with our clients to develop solutions and programming around these trends to make sure they’re always on the forefront of innovation.

How are you addressing these trends in the new year? Interested in learning how we can help your company stay competitive with these trends? Let’s talk about it!