2019’s Top 20 Food and Drink Buzzwords

2019’s hottest food and drink buzzwords

Posted: Jan. 03, 2019

Start the new year with 2019’s hottest food and drink buzzwords.

Ring in the new year with the top 20 food and drink buzzwords from Baum + Whiteman’s 13 Hottest Food and Beverage Trends in Restaurants and Hotels for 2019.

Edible Flowers

Topped on cakes, whipped into smoothies, and added as bright, colorful garnishes for salads, edible flowers are back (although were they ever really gone?). Some of this year’s favorite edible flowers will be squash blossoms (like these ricotta-stuffed ones from Steven Starr’s Upland in Miami), pea flowers (in tea form, in particular), and the peppery nasturtium flowers and leaves. For menu inspiration, see the flower-focused restaurant Midnight Moon in Bangkok, Thailand, that was created in honor of Queen Sirikit of Thailand, a flower and botany enthusiast.

Floral Water Infusion

From edible flowers to flower-infused waters, 2019 is predicted to be the year of the flower! Elle Décor even lists floral patterns as a leading design trend for 2019….

Hemp and Cannabis Drinks

Another flora-based trend for the new year is hemp and cannabis in everything. The future of cannabis cuisine is now, and we can expect to see more hemp-infused cocktails, drinks, and beer in restaurants and on supermarket shelves.

Low-Calorie Vegan Ice Cream

Healthy comfort food is a trend that’s here to stay; in 2019, ice cream is the next food type to break with tradition. In grocery stores, some notable vegan ice cream brands include Halo Top, Arctic Zero, So Delicious, and Wink Frozen Desserts. The major ice cream players are also diving into the trend, including Ben and Jerry’s, Häagen-Dazs, and Breyers.

“Umami-Boosting, Meat-Aging Koji”

Koji is an umami-boosting mold that has been used for centuries in Japan to age meat beautifully. Recently, it’s been used by Western chefs. It’s never eaten on its own, and according to the Tasting Table, smells “floral, yeasty, and citrusy.” Since umami—the official fifth taste sense—is known for turning an average dish into an addictive flavor bomb, we are excited to see how US chefs integrate koji into our dining landscape.

Oat Milk

A long-time favorite of vegans and vegetarians, oat milk was the hottest milk substitute in 2018. It was so popular that there was an unexpected oat milk shortage, and to meet demand, producer Oatly Inc. had to increase their output by 50%. In 2019, it’s expected to go mainstream.

If you run a coffee shop, start offering oat milk as a plant-based, dairy-free milk option. Not only does the milk sub fit into the plant-based protein and nutrition trend of 2018, but baristas also approve of it, too! Oat milk has a light, hearty flavor and a creamy texture that makes it perfect for foamy cappuccino designs. Baum + Whiteman is betting that oat milk will wipe out other milk substitutes while boosting the popularity of other oat products in the process.

Shiso Leaf

In the last few years, US-based chefs have integrated many new, exotic spices and herbs into their dishes, and the shiso leaf is predicted to be the newest addition to their repertoire. In Japanese cooking, shiso leaf is a common herb. It’s aromatic and the taste is best described as sharp; crossing into the flavor profiles of citrus leaves, mint, Thai basil, and cilantro—without fitting into any one exclusively. It’s a large herb, making it ideal for wrapping, and versatile, working well with fish, meat, poultry, and vegetables.

“Food from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Other Inaccessible Places”

Finally, Eastern foods from Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan get some recognition. (We share more in Restaurant Trends Part 1: What’s in Store for 2019?)

Israeli Food Popularity Growth Continues

Like all beloved Mediterranean cuisines, garlic, good olive oil, and fresh ingredients are highlighted; and Israeli food is no exception. Jerusalem: A Cookbook (written by Yotam Ottolenghi, chef and restaurateur credited for “changing the face of the British cooking scene” in London) made it onto almost all US Top Cookbook Lists in 2018, and across the country, Israeli restaurants opened with great success and applause.

Recipes include vegan- and vegetarian-friendly options that appease the most carnivorous appetites and feature varying succulent meats and marinades, all of which is often shared family style. Exotic yet familiar, healthy yet satisfying, Israeli food is expected to continue winning over the American consumer in 2019.


Considering how popular Israeli food is getting, it’s no surprise that zhoug is a 2019 food buzzword.


Or tahini; a sesame-seed-based condiment ubiquitous across the Middle East.


The perfect comfort food is khatchapuri, a traditional Georgian specialty of cheesy bread. Adventurous pizza shops can add a khatchapuri twist to one of their pies.

Asian Pastry Shops

Serious Eats writes the most spot-on description of an Asian pastry shop: “The first time you walk into a Chinese bakery is a little like stepping into Willy Wonka's factory.” There are buns (baked and steamed) filled with red bean paste, coconut flakes, hot dogs, sweet and savory pulled pork, or salted egg yolks. That’s not including the gelatinous desserts or spongy cakes. If you’re lucky enough to have an Asian pastry shop in your neighborhood, consider partnering with them and selling their wares for a dessert special this coming Chinese New Year.

Pour-Your-Own-Beer Systems

The craft beer industry is in full throttle. If you run a brewery, check out the latest technology buzzword of 2019: pour-your-own-beer taps. Using modern POS technology to measure the amount of beer poured and charge accordingly, personal taps can be added to every table or to create a centralized wall of taps.

Safe Duck and Chicken Liver Preparations

As refrigeration technology has gotten better and restaurants are working closer than ever with their producers, Baum + Whiteman predicts that duck and chicken liver will make a comeback in 2019.

“No-Alcohol Cocktails at Fancy Martini Prices”

Are bars posing as juice shops in 2019? Time will tell. The cocktail trends of 2018 were health-focused, featuring cannabis-infused drinks, vegetable bases (instead of fruit), and fermented drinks. In the new year, we can expect cocktail menus to continue focusing on health and wellness, but this time, with cocktails sans alcohol. But unlike the average juicery, these drinks will still cost upwards of $15 to $20 in swanky bar settings.

Hard Seltzer

Another drink buzzword of 2019 highlights how much consumers want to drink without the calories of hard liquor. Enter: hard seltzer. Real Simple describes the drink as “a refreshing alternative which, with fewer calories and about half the carbs of beer, has been getting some buzz as the health-conscious alcoholic beverage of the season. Another bonus? Because hard seltzer is low in sugar, it’s less likely to lead to killer hangovers.” In accordance with the many other related food and drinks trends, hard seltzer sounds like it will be a consumer favorite this year.

Sour Calamansi

With the rise of Filipino food in 2018 and its influence on the American cooking scene, it’s no wonder that a common Filipino fruit makes the 2019 buzzword list. Sour calamansi, more commonly known as calamondin, is a small, yellow citrus fruit used in marinades and lemonades in the Phillippines. It’s refreshing, tart, and sour (Did you see that sour foods are one of the major food trends for 2019?).

Szechuan Peppercorns in Hot Pots and Dry Pots

The spicy Chinee peppercorn makes a comeback in hot pot and dry pot restaurants.

King Oyster Mushrooms

It’s not clear why Baum + Whiteman added king oyster mushrooms to their 2019 buzzwords list. It could be due to their fleshy texture and deep, woodsy flavors, making them a great vegetarian substitute to meats. Whatever the reason may be, the restaurant consultants tend to accurately predict food and dining trends well in advance.

Start the year on the right food: New Year, New Restaurant Website.

Posted: Jan. 03, 2019 | Written By: Emma Alois


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