THE ENTIRE FOODSERVICE INDUSTRY faced fast and unexpected change when the pandemic emerged in early 2020. Across segments, operators were forced to rapidly adjust operations—initially to stay afloat and then ultimately succeed long term in this new industry environment. Some of those quick-adapts have forever changed foodservice. Here are a few trends that are expected to enhance and advance the industry in 2022 and beyond.

Number One

How-to in ’22:

Connect with Consumers on an Emotional Level

  • Be proactive in eliminating bias and promoting diversity, equality and inclusion through employee anti-bias training and donations to social justice groups.1
  • Foster relationships with community leaders.
  • Promote sustainability, reduce food waste and highlight responsibly and ethically sourced menu ingredients.

Responsibility in Action:

These brands are putting real dollars behind their social responsibility initiatives.

  • Our entire Mondelēz International global network is working toward having all chocolate brands made with sustainably sourced cocoa through our Cocoa Life initiative by 2025.
  • After a pandemic hiatus, Starbucks is bringing back its reusable cup program, which began in 1985 as part of its goal to reduce overall waste by 50% by 2030.3
  • By 2030, Yum Brands plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 46%.4

More to Explore:

Read more about consumer interest in the connection between personal and environmental health in Food Industry Trends: Ingredient Transparency & Sustainability.

Number Two

How-to in ’22:

Increase Operational Efficiency with Automation

  • Tech solutions, such as online ordering, can improve back-of-house efficiencies and enhance customer experiences.
  • QR codes are a cost-effective way to automate ordering and menu updates, as operators don’t need to reprint physical menus when offerings change.

More to Explore:

Read more about how technology is evolving operations in A Hearty Appetite for Automation: Top Restaurant Chains Tap Next-Gen Tech to Feed Sales

Number Three

How-to in ’22:

Reimagine Classics into Cool Comforts

  • Create innovative recipes that answer consumers’ competing desires for old and new.
  • No area is off-limits when it comes to innovation opportunities.5
  • Understand who your customer is and focus on their desire for something different.5
  • Many authentically “crave-worthy” menu items can’t be easily replicated by the average home chef,9 offering operators ample opportunity to become a repeat destination for consumers.7


of consumers consider chocolate chip cookies the ultimate comfort food.7

Number Four

How-to in ’22:

Keep Customers Coming Back for Grab-and-Go

  • Audit offerings to focus on a smaller group of menu items that “work harder” and travel well.10
  • Infuse retail-level speed, convenience and “craveability.”10
  • Bring application versatility, but stay focused on back-of-house efficiency even as menus start to expand.10

More to Explore:

See how you can reimagine your salad bar into a low-contact grab-and-go station.

Number Five

How-to in ’22:

Get Consumers to Entertain On-Premises Eating

  • Market the enjoyable benefits and social aspects of dining out, especially after an often isolating year.11
  • Create special dine-in offers for menu items to drive on-premises meals.11

Number Six
Enjoy Life - Dipped Banana Bites

Easily incorporate plant-based packaged snacks into your offerings with Enjoy Life single-serve snacks. See all products here.

How-to in ’22:

Cultivate Plant-Based Sales

  • The evolution of plant-based offers ample opportunity to innovate and attract younger diners.
  • Bowls, pizzas and salads are the most common platforms for plant-based menu innovation.15
  • Experiment with different cooking methods to extract the optimal flavor and texture from plant-based ingredients.15

More to Explore:

Read how Functional Meets Flavorful: Plant-Based Concepts Keep Growing


  1. 2021 Midyear U.S. Trends Update, Technomic, July 2021
  2. Future of Global Cuisine Strong as Industry Recovers, Technomic Consumer Food Trends, April 2021
  3. Kelso, Alicia, “Starbucks resurrects reusable cup program after pandemic hiatus,” Restaurant Dive, June 9, 2021
  4. Kelso, Alicia, “Yum Brands commits to 46% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030,” Restaurant Dive, April 27, 2021
  5. What’s Next for Independent Restaurants, IFMA 2021
  6. DE Big Picture Factors Affecting Foodservice & Retail, June 2021; DE Simply Smarter, July 2021
  7. Datassential 2021 Trends
  8. Informa, Industry Overview May 2021
  9. The Road to Recovery, Food & Foodservice After Covid-19, Datassential
  10. Planning Program, Technomic 2021
  11. Consumer Food Trends: Consumer Appetite for Away-From-Home Experiences, Technomic June 2021
  12. Eating Occasions, The Hartman Group Spring 2021
  13. Manning, Lauren, “Food is Gen Z’s top spending priority, survey finds,’ Food Dive, April, 14, 2021
  14. Discovering the Next Chicken Sandwich, Datassential IFMA Marketing Sales 2021
  15. Cobe, Patricia, “Plants continue to grow on menus,” Restaurant Business, 10 August 2021
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