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Agristo trendwatch 2024 in the foodservice industry

Tasty trend #1 for food service

Intense experiences

Professional cooks are getting ever more creative and bold. In search of exciting and adventurous flavors, they play with mouthfeel and a multi-sensational experience. It’s becoming tough to reinvent your menu, as chefs elevate flavors by combining ingredients from different cuisines. Fusion and chaos cooking are booming by mixing traditional with influential Southeast Asian, West African and Mexican cuisines.

What goes on in the kitchen?

  • Experimentation with umami continues

    Unexpected umami ingredients have to give extra savory touches, such as use of soy sauce.
  • Taste is lifted by using different spices and toppings that add extra sensory experiences

    On a global level, savory-and-spicy and smoky-and-spicy flavor profiles are the most popular preferences, next to other combinations like sweet-and-spicy and tangy-and-spicy. We see a strong interest in moderately spicy dishes and foods, such as chimichurri, (smoked) paprika, harissa and gochujang, especially in the Middle East, North America and Europe.
Tasty trend #2 for food service

Unboring food

People want to treat themselves. In doing so, food plays an important role in providing everyday moments of happiness. Pleasure has become a more intrinsic need, but we’ve become numb to pleasure provided by the things we know. Known as the behavioral peak shift effect, we see that special foods as a stimulus receive a more intense and desirable reaction.

What goes on in the kitchen?

  • Premiumization of nostalgic familiarity

    Despite a strain on household budgets, people still spend on indulgent experiences that offer a simple twist. For example, by adding or pairing extra crunchy, creamy or smooth elements to elevate a known classic, such as chunky mash.
  • Genuine results with simple gourmet

    Chefs prepare the most simple of dishes with Michelin-grade craft, with simplicity remaining key. Every change brings an extra layer of complexity. Question your prepping process and eliminate complex actions or even dishes entirely. It’s not just the product, but the entire product proposition. Simple gourmet has been a rising influence in handheld food. Everything Americana and classical French cuisine is having its new golden age.
  • The more unusual, the better

    Today, chefs are practically forced to go all out. Extremely odd, unusual and extraordinary dishes are what triggers our mental state. People are guided by extraordinary TikTok videos and desire to discover those unusual experiences themselves. As a result, we also see growth in the fun formats, like the now common XXL burger.
Tasty trend #3 for food service

To share and to pair

Throughout the food sector, snacking continues to evolve as a more affordable way to eat out of home. Not only that: play snacks and starters have emerged as a low-risk form of experimentation for social shareables. Food sharing is stepping in as a ritualized event in which symbolic and experiential meaning is generated. Furthermore, it’s a great way for social groups to taste more with less cost.


of people pick where they’ll eat out based on the wide variety of dishes


of people pick where they’ll eat out based on the taste of the dishes

What goes on in the kitchen?

  • Need for connection

    People want to make more of shared moments, both in and out of home. Food sharing is emerging as an connection-driven occasion.
  • Sharing is simple

    Food sharing comes out best in simplified menus, such as tapas and snack menus, and goes hand in hand with food pairing. Tapas are great as a simple and accessible concept, with potato inspired products leading the charge in both simplicity and customizability. That way, people who can't cook will learn in one instant which flavors belong together, and might therefore start using them themselves.
  • Pairing with classical dishes

    Food pairing will also become increasingly important with classical main dishes to lift consumer experience. We see people desire to be in the driver’s seat and have free reign to choose a side that they think fits best with their main course.
Food service experiences

Other evolutions

  • Increasing staff and time shortages

    Increased automation will only be a solution to part of the problem. For a lot of actions, a pair of hands is still needed in the kitchen. But time-consuming actions can be taken out of the equation. Freshly frozen products, such as our SmartChef range, can eliminate intensive and difficult actions, and leaves time to create exceptional dining experiences.
  • Need for consistent quality

    Providing an essential consistent quality for complex dishes is becoming more difficult due to increased pressure on kitchen expertise and a tight labor market. Frozen solutions eliminate complex actions and ensure consistency for high-quality dishes as well as optimizing portion and cost control.
  • Crisis doesn’t curb growth

    Despite inflationary worries, even the lower social classes aren’t limiting their out-of-home spending, with 1 out of 3 online delivery orders coming from the lower social class. The newer generations also spend a lot on out-of-home indulgence: Gen Z is less materialistic and more focused on experiences and leisure. Compared to 2020, there has been a +3% increase in out-of-home eating, with Gen Z leading the way (+20%).