2023 Food Trends: Childhood Snacks, Sea Veggies, & Niche Comfort Food
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In 2022, food trends came and went so fast it was hard to keep up. One week, we were covering boards with butter—and the next, we were eating fish out of cans.
As 2023 approaches, it doesn’t seem like things are slowing down. So if you want to catch the next butter board before it blows up on TikTok, it pays to head into the new year knowing what 2023 food trends lie ahead.
Thankfully, food experts abound—and trend experts do, too. And these oracles have published enough 2023 trend reports that we actually can see the food trend future—at least, a little bit.
So in 2023, expect your food to get even more indulgent, obscure, and photogenic. And expect the tasty micro-trends to keep on coming. Your 2023 should be full of trendy foods to whip up, taste, and post on social media. And you can get a head start on the new year by perusing a few of the top food trends that have been forecasted for 2023.
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1. Nostalgic Classics
Right now, we might be looking toward the future—but 2023 is looking toward the past. “Nostalgia” is shaping up to be the word of the year, with childhood favorites dominating the forecasted food scene.
TikTok is packed with cozy mac and cheese recipes. Fast food giants are bringing back retro favorites, like Happy Meals and Halloween buckets. And the National Restaurant Association is ready for upscale takes on classic childhood desserts. (Deconstructed s’mores? Sign us up.)
According to Whole Foods, 73% of Americans like things that remind them of the past. So harken back to the snacks you ate as a kindergartener, and serve them at your next party. They’ll probably be a hit.
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2. Floral Cakes and Cupcakes
Year after year, food seems to get tastier and prettier. And 2023 is no exception. As we head into the new year, we’re ready to tackle ambitious recipes—and whip up floral desserts that look straight-up fairytale-worthy.
According to Pinterest, floral cakes and cupcakes are popping up everywhere—as inventive bakers top their desserts with everything from daisies to wildflowers. This so-called “herbal apothecary aesthetic” has blown up on Pinterest. (Searches are up 1,025% year over year.) And while the aesthetic doesn’t only apply to desserts, it certainly makes for some stunning sweet treats.
So instead of serving your cake with candles, top it with a bouquet. Or stock up on edible flower petals, and dump them on your cake like sprinkles.
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3. Plateless Meals
In 2023, you don’t need a plate—at least not according to TikTok. In the last year, we’ve seen plates fall by the wayside, as enterprising TikTokers have served meals on everything from cutting boards to tablecloths.
This dish-free approach has certainly turned heads. But it’s also delivered its fair share of blessings. For starters, we’ve all discovered that sometimes a plate isn’t the best tool for the job. Plus, fewer dishes often means an easier clean-up process.
We don’t expect this trend to disappear the moment the new year arrives. If anything, it’ll just get wilder. So prepare yourself for a year of imaginative plate alternatives—and keep an open mind. After all, this movement was responsible for two of 2022’s greatest gifts: the butter board and the nacho table.
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4. Snackable Sea Veggies
One of 2023’s favorite foods? Seafood. But we’re not just talking about fish. In 2023, sea vegetables—like kelp and seaweed—are on the menu. And there are tons of tasty ways to eat the saltwater snacks.
Whole Foods has already stocked up on ready-made kelp products, like kelp noodles and puffed kelp chips. And on Pinterest, people have been searching for Nori recipes, green algae, and seaweed snacks they can whip up at home.
The great thing about this trend? It doesn’t require much cooking. So if you want to explore some of the ocean’s most delicious greenery, just head to a nearby grocery store and stock up on all the sea snacks you can find.
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5. Comfort Food You’ve Never Heard Of
Comfort food is an essential part of life. And in 2023, we’ll be eating all kinds of it.
Over the last year, we’ve fallen in love with cowboy caviar—a Texas dip made with black eyed peas (and no real caviar). We’ve discovered the beauty of dirty soda—a Utah drink that blends soda with cream and syrup. And we’ve whipped up pancake spaghetti—a homemade dish that’s part pancake, part pasta.
And Yelp expects our infatuation with niche comfort foods to continue in 2023.
So think back on the local snacks you ate growing up—and take note when a friend cooks something tasty but unexpected. Those surprising treats might just be fodder for TikTok’s next comfort food craze. And even if they’re not, you can enjoy devouring them all year long.
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6. International Bites
In 2023, you can eat around the world—without leaving the comfort of your home. In the last year, we’ve seen international favorites—like birria tacos, tamales, and Dalgona coffee—captivate the world. And experts expect the flavor tourism to continue.
The National Restaurant Association thinks we’ll deck out our sandwiches—taking inspiration from the Chinese Rou Jia Mo, the Argentine choripan, and the South Asian paratha. And Restaurant Business thinks we’ll make the most of classic Middle Eastern ingredients, like labneh and kibbeh.
Dishes from the Balkans, the Hawaiian islands, and Peru are also on the menu—as are drinks from Japan and Turkey.
The good news is: There’s tons of incredible international cuisine to explore. And we’re just excited to get exposed to more of it in 2023.
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7. Photogenic Toppings
In 2023, no meal is complete without a really pretty garnish. Your butter board needs a drizzle of honey—and a sprinkle of edible flowers. Your ramen needs a perfectly soft-boiled egg. And your soup needs a dollop of cream, a splash of oil, and a smattering of fresh herbs.
Our world is enamored with photogenic food. And that’s not stopping any time soon. So stock up on edible glitter. Master the art of charcuterie rose-making. And invest in a pour spout that delivers the perfect drizzle every time.
These finishing touches might seem over-the-top, especially if you’re not crafting food with social media in mind. But little details, like these, can make mealtime feel more ceremonial—turning a casual dinner for one into a special treat.
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