2021 further forced the food industry to bet on new developments and embrace new technologies.

What food industry trends are emerging in 2022? Our foodtrendwatcher makes some predictions.

Climate-positive eating and 'green' cooking

More and more people are being influenced by sustainable ideas when it comes to their choice of meals. A large proportion of the CO2 emissions worldwide (= the driving force behind global warming) come from the livestock industry. The expectation is that awareness of this will lead people to eat less meat.

At the moment, the replacement of animal proteins by vegetable proteins is the most popular option. An example of this is dairy products made from vegetable ingredients, such as cheese or milk made from grass. More and more investments are flowing into food start-ups that are embracing this transition, which means that the supply and quality of plant-based food is only increasing.

Restaurants are also following in the wake of this trend. The so-called 'green' cooking, in which sustainable ingredients from locally produced and plant-based food form the basis for recipes, will become an important trend in the restaurant industry.

At Planet Compass, we actively try to translate these trends into a sustainable strategy, so that as the world's largest food service provider, we also have a positive impact on the environment. In our own retail brand Tom & Della's we have already included some plant-based meals in the range.

A quick and easy bite on your plate

The delivery of meals is on the rise, not a surprising development due to the ongoing coronary restrictions worldwide. Dark kitchens' are kitchens that focus purely on the production of delivery meals, and in 2022 they will expand in number and market. So the days when you could only have fast food delivered to your home seem to be over, as the range continues to expand.

At Compass Group Belgium, we recently launched our own line of dark kitchens under the name DARKK. Another trend is the rise of flash deliverers, who can deliver meals and groceries to your home in ten minutes. This is achieved by strategically positioning dark kitchens within a defined area as a radius of action, so that deliveries can be delivered at lightning speed. Whether this reduced timing will further raise consumer expectations for the entire market remains to be seen.

Bars with a new twist

Pubs will focus even more on the experience and a diverse offer in order to lure customers back after the corona-restrictions. Here are some notable new trends: self-taps, vegan snacks, home-made soft drinks, poké bowls as café snacks, and even pubs with home-brewed beer or spirits.

The hotel sector will continue to experiment with food formulas

Corona caused a decline in tourism worldwide, and many hotels saw black snow. This forced many of them to innovate and shake up their established formulas. Among other things, we saw the emergence of private dinners in the hotel room or takeaway breakfasts.

Hotels also invested heavily in apps that enable contactless self-service of food. Furthermore, there is also a growing demand from hotels for digital platforms to further streamline their purchasing formulas.

At Compass Group Belgium, we are trying to provide such a strong platform through our purchasing platform Xandrion.

Robots as a helping hand with a shortage of catering staff?

Automation is becoming an important tool in dealing with the shortage of catering staff. So-called fast casual-restaurants, an American invention in which you order meals at the counter yourself and pick them up, are now gradually gaining popularity in Europe as well.

The US is also experimenting with robots in the catering industry. There are already devices that can prepare fresh salads or serve meals. The more advanced this technology becomes, the more consumers will be willing to embrace these developments.

Diversity in the kitchen remains a challenge ... but things are gradually improving!

The hospitality sector remains a male-dominated industry. There are few starred female chefs and in the kitchens you continue to come across mostly men when it comes to staff.  Within the sector, there is a growing interest in better and more flexible employment conditions for staff, which will hopefully lead to more room for diversity.

This evolution, in addition to the use of technological automation, will be necessary to solve the staff shortage in the hotel and catering industry. By striving year after year to win the Belgian Top Employer award, our company wants to strive for a stimulating working environment for all our employees.