This article comes from our friends at SimpleOrder, a restaurant inventory management platform that integrates with Square.
In the early 2000s, when the intricacies of industrial farming came to light — thanks to documentaries such as King Corn, writers such as Michael Pollan, and books such as Fast Food Nation — the world made a major shift to embracing clean food. Now we have a generation that has grown up with the ideas of organic, sustainable, local, and seasonal food.
As a result of this, in 2017 we’ll see a major surge of innovation, technology, and food trends that have emerged from this deep understanding of the food industry and the need to redirect it.
Whether you are first starting a restaurant or looking for ways to modernize your business, here are six trends that you should keep an eye on this year:
1. From seed to stomach
This generation is demanding transparency from the bottom up. As a response to this demand, companies have begun to develop sensors to track food all the way from the farm to the table. In 2017 we will begin to see this technology come to light.
Chipotle has already integrated with FoodLogiQ to track all its ingredients through the food system, and developers are working hard to create apps that anyone can use to learn the true source of their food.
The market for tracking technologies is expected to grow to $14.1 billion by 2020, according to Allied Market Research.
2. Waste not, want not
In an effort to tackle food waste in 2016, a number of food waste solutions were created. These solutions include taking excess food from restaurants and redistributing it to communities in need, selling leftover restaurant dishes at low prices, and taking waste from beer making and bread baking to create a new product.
3. Blue is the new green
Over the last two years, we saw a lot of green drinks thanks to the explosion of matcha. This year we’ll see a new color popping up in coffee shops near us — blue.
Algae lattes are going to take over as the new superfood across restaurants and cafes. Traditionally made from blue algae powder, ginger, lemon, coconut milk, and agave, blue algae is 70 percent vegetable protein and contains over 65 vitamins, enzymes, and minerals along with eight essential amino acids and 10 nonessential amino acids.
Cafés in Australia are already making this wholesome treat, so it’s not long before America gets on board.
4. Grocery gardens
Vertical farming is a technique that involves growing plants indoors in programmed conditions. Although vertical farms have become prevalent in cities such as Berlin and Brooklyn, they will be featured on a more massive scale when Target begins to test vertical farming technology in its stores by spring.
As the technology advances, vertical farms will start to pop up in restaurants, homes, and grocery stores throughout the world.
5. Healthy bacteria
It started with kimchi and kombucha, but fermented food is not leaving the spotlight just yet. In an effort to provide gluten-sensitive and low-carb people with alternative baking flour, many companies are testing options using fermented vegetables and fruits.
Auckland University is testing a fermented apple pulp flour, and you can already grab fermented sweet potato flour at some grocery stores.
6. Tech at the table
Long gone are the days when restaurant technology was only bound to POS systems with simple functions. Restaurant tech is at an all-time high. Back-of-the-house technology is helping restaurants manage inventory more easily and efficiently. POS systems such as Square are providing options to integrate accounting, invoices, staff scheduling, and more.
New apps are making it possible for just about any restaurant to offer delivery services, and waitlist apps reduce waiting times by allowing you to get on a restaurant waiting list before you even walk in the door.
This year you will see a bounty of new integrated technology that offers restaurant owners new opportunities to grow their business and make their customers’ experiences more effortless, efficient, and exciting.
SimpleOrder is the world’s leading restaurant inventory management system, designed to optimize and streamline Back of House operations, reduce food waste and improve profit margins.
SimpleOrder integrates with Square’s POS. You can find it in the Square App Marketplace.