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January 4, 2023

Every year the 5pm food blog peers at some tea leaves and tries to forecast the food and drink trends that will shape our menus in 2023.

A quick glance at past predictions clearly demonstrates that this is an imprecise art. As always, to help us improve our hit rate, we have scoured lots of other 2023 food trend articles. There is a full list at the bottom of this blog.

We'll get the serious stuff in first. We can confidently state that 2023 will be a tough year for a hospitality industry already on its knees after two years of Covid. A lack of trained staff, spiralling energy costs, increasing ingredient costs and skint customers will mean many restaurateurs will be looking for new jobs before the year is out.

How will they try to counter all this? Using cheaper ingredients and making them work harder. Think slow-cooked beef shin or oxtail rather than fillet. Reduced opening hours will cut staff costs but will also impact on potential trade. Expect menus to become shorter and simpler which will mean less waste. Prices will go up.

Of course, 5pm Dining offers and our range of Big Deals will continue to offer great value from restaurants in Glasgow, Edinburgh and beyond. Put the sackcloth and ashes away. We will still be eating out but we might be a bit more selective about our choice of venue.

Frog pâté 

Right, that's the sensible side of this blog covered. Time for the nonsense. The weird, the wacky, the freaky and the you-must-be joking. According to one sage in Olive magazine, we could be saving the planet by eating invasive species. Think frog pâté followed by fricassée of grey squirrel with a dessert of jellyfish. Sound outlandish? We already eat crayfish - an invasive bug species.

Sticking with water-based foods, sea vegetables are said to be on the brink of stardom. This blog has long reckoned that we will all be eating more seaweed but some brave souls are suggesting that algae could be on the menu. 

Tinned fish is going to be trendy and if you want to be very fashionable then you might want to use it to create a seacuterie board; 2023's answer to the charcuterie board. The gorgeously decorated sardine tin image at the top of this piece is from The Tinned Fish Market site.

Don't fancy tinned fish? How about dry aged fish? Remember the former trend for dry aging beef for three months or longer? Some chefs are experimenting with aging fish for a firmer texture and concentrated flavour.

 Ube with your plov?

You want some short bites? Cabbage will be the new kale. Martinis will be the new Negronis. African restaurants - particularly West African restaurants - will become a thing. The rice-based, Balkan, casserole dish of plov is winning friends. Dates are going to be big. As are medicinal mushrooms, ube - a purple yam from the Philippines - and nostalgic dishes like mac 'n' cheese. Although it's arguable that mac 'n' cheese ever went away.

We will round this off with the welcome news that crispy chicken skins are destined to be both a popular snack food and flavour enhancer for other dishes. We can get firmly behind the idea of using crispy chicken skins instead of croutons in a salad. However, we couldn't stop ourselves from sniggering at the American chef who suggested that chicken skins would make excellent 'toupées for roasts'.

Want to get your teeth into more future food trends? This blog drew heavily on the following:

New York Times

Big Hospitality

Baum + Whiteman

Olive Magazine

Better Homes and Gardens