Fall is just around the corner and, with it, comes new food trends in the industry. In years past, caterers have gotten very comfortable with typical autumn fare, like sweet potatoes, beets, and other root vegetables.
However, this year, it’s looking like we’re in for an exciting season of not-so-common ingredients — so, get your creative juices flowing and start planning your fall menus with these considerations in mind.
Experiment with unique proteins
Gone are the days of your traditional beef, chicken, and fish lineup. This year’s menus will see less common proteins taking center stage.
“Rabbit is coming on strong — not just regionally, but everywhere,” shares Lon Lane of Lon Lane’s Inspired Occasions. “Capons and duck are also reintroducing themselves. We also see bone-in carved hams coming back.”
We’re also seeing plant-based proteins increasing in popularity, so get familiar with such ingredients like tofu, tempeh, seitan, and lentils. With the right spices or marinade, these meatless proteins can still be the star of the show.
Familiarize with fermentation
If it seems like pickling is everywhere, it’s because it is. When probiotics became a buzzword in the food industry, more and more clients began requesting nutritious fermented foods across the board.
“Fermented foods will be hotter than ever,” assures Meryl Snow of SnowStorm Solutions. “We will see more kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, tempeh, carrots, and many other foods fermented, cooked, and offered at events.”
This could also play out well at a bar, with kombucha and kefir making great additions to any drink menu. With a rise in alcohol-free events, these beverages are perfect for quenching thirst with health in mind.
Think beyond the pumpkin
People may always love their morning pumpkin spice latte, but when planning an event, there’s a need for innovation and uniqueness. Fortunately, fall is harvest season — thus, the season unveils an abundance of produce options for a wide array of flavors for any taste palate.
“There are so many fall items that are shadowed by the pumpkin,” says Adam Gooch of Common Plea Catering. “Of course, there are the staple items, such as apples, pomegranates and squashes, but what about different fall flavors like tangerines, cabbages, figs, leeks, and rabbit? These have so much flavor and can be paired with so many cooking procedures that can be added to so many dishes.”
Purchase with creativity
With these trends in mind, you can start to plan out your menus which will, of course, inform your food purchasing decisions. Grocery stores and farmers’ markets are chock-full of seasonal ingredients in the fall, so don’t be afraid to experiment and try something new.
Grab those endives and discover a new way to cook them, or look for a way to work figs into your most popular dessert recipe. The possibilities are endless, as long as you keep your mind open to new ideas.
The key to food purchasing and recipe development in the fall really comes down to creativity. Have fun with the harvest season and explore combinations of foods and spices that you may not have tried before. After all, autumn is often recognized as the season for new beginnings.