Startup Tip: Top Food Trends in 2016

Singapore diners are always on the lookout for the next big thing in the dining scene. Here are some of the top food trends from all over the world that you can look into if you’re starting a business in Singapore this 2016.


Comfort food gets a makeover.

According to research and consulting firm Technomic, the comfort that comes from eating comfort food isn’t just from the familiar taste. Comfort food takes us back to the past, to our childhood when everything is simpler. It often reminds people of their own parents’ cooking and happy times with family. This is the reason why many people order comfort fares at restaurants even in the presence of a variety of more innovative menu items.


Fast food will be refreshed.

The consumer’s drive towards “better” fast food is transforming the entire industry. With this transformation also comes diversification.


Fast Food’s actual industry name is actually “Quick Service Restaurant” or QSR. In this concept, the average meal is priced at approximately $5 wherein customers get limited menu items, average food quality, and zero table service. In 2016, the “QSR-plus” concept will bring fresher and premium fast food items on the menu.


“We operate in a place called ‘QSR-plus,’,” said Ed Valle, the chief marketing officer of El Pollo Loco, the Mexican-style grilled-children food chain. “‘QSR-plus’ is a place where the need for distinctive, authentic food meets the need for speed. And the ‘plus’ means better service, better food, and better environment.”


It only gets hotter.

When it comes to hot sauce, Sriracha has enjoyed great popularity in recent years. It seemed that hot sauce is not only reserved for the occasional dipping. It is now commonly used in pasta, casseroles, and even ice cream.


According to a 2015 survey by The NPD Group, a global information company, about 56 percent of U.S. households have hot sauce in their cooking arsenal. In particular, Sriracha is present in nine percent of the total households in the U.S. The same group found that Sriracha is present in 16 percent of U.S. households whose head is below 35 years old.


The prevalence of hot items in fast food chains seems to be driven by Millennials. According to a survey by market intelligence agency Mintel, almost 75 percent of Millennials want to try new flavors when eating out in restaurants.


Based on Technomic’s Take: 2016 Food Trends, the world will experience the so-called “Sriracha Effect” in 2016 where diners can look forward to the addition of ethnic distinction in simple fares like sandwiches and soups.


In recent years, the Sriracha has taken over the world. This year, similar items such as India’s ghost pepper, North Africa’s dukka, harissa and sumac, Korea’s gochujang and Southeast Asia’s sambal can be the next Sriracha.


Diners want to know where their food comes from.

Startup Tip: Top Food Trends in 2016

Researchers from the Washington State University in the U.S. found that organic foods have 18 to 69 percent higher concentrations of antioxidants. In turn, people who only eat organic food could bet getting 20 to 40 percent more antioxidants without the need to increase calorie intake.


This year, Technomic said diners and consumers alike will ask more questions about where they food comes from. Regardless of science, a majority of consumers have concluded that GMO-free items are way superior in terms of safety and nutritional value compared to their conventional counterparts.


There are even some restaurants who specialize in GMO-free ingredients and the trend will only get more intense. This means establishments will need to fix their supply chain to adapt to the growing demand for organic ingredients.


Apps will revolutionize delivery and dining options.

In 2015, Singapore-based CrescentRating launched the HalalTrip mobile app that allows users to share and comment on their favorite halal dishes using social media.


Users can also click on a photo to get additional details about the dish and restaurant location in both English and Arabic interfaces. HalalTrip also taps into the user’s current location to search for great halal dishes in restaurants within the current vicinity.


“Halal food is one of the biggest drivers of tourism for the Muslim market. When traveling, one of the main concerns of Muslims is halal food. What we did is to bring in a social media element into discovering halal food and making it more fun and more intuitive,” said HalalTrip’s chief executive Fazal Bahardeen.


The team at Technomic said the increasing numbers of third-party online order-and-delivery apps and services will revolutionize “dining in” and make it easier. In Singapore, food hunting is a typical activity and with so many dining options, many people resort to apps to make decision-making faster and easier. Popular food apps include Opensnap, Foodpanda, Sugar, Picky and so much more.


The year of open fire cooking.

Based on his travels and observations of emerging food trends across five continents, MasterChef judge, and food journalist Matt Preston predicted that 2016 will be the year of open fire cooking.


The Carnivore Brazilian Churrascaria restaurant at the Marina Bay Sands offers rotisserie-style traditional Brazilian meat cooked over an open fire. Open fire cooking is a showstopper that offers your diners an interesting sneak peek into how their food is prepared.


If you are setting up a company in Singapore and are looking into the food industry, do check out Preston’s prediction and see how an open fire concept can make you one of the hottest dining spots in the country.


Hungry for business?

Startup Tip: Top Food Trends in 2016

So there you have it. If you are venturing into the food business this year, give us a call and we’ll help you register your business in Singapore. Who knows, you may be the next big thing in the country’s culinary scene.