What’s cooking IN 2024?

Welcome to a fresh year filled with new ideas and limitless possibilities! Conagra Foodservice is here with everything your operation needs to prepare for the latest trends and changes in consumer behaviors that are set to leave a mark on menus across the board in 2024.

A shift in delivery and dayparts.

Customers are moving away from the once-prevalent trend of food delivery and its premium pricing, choosing the lower cost of takeout and drive-thru locations, which also gives them more schedule flexibility. Dayparts will also be seeing a shift in terms of where consumers are spending the most time at restaurants. Rather than lunch, which can often be viewed as more expensive, consumers will gravitate toward slower, more affordable dayparts like breakfast, brunch or snacking periods between traditional mealtimes.

By the Numbers

  • 57% of consumers prefer getting their food to go. Joe Guszkowski, "Takeout becomes America's preferred dining mode," Restaurant Business, July 12, 2023.
  • About 50% of consumers feel that delivery is too expensive. Datassential, "2024 Food Trends," FoodBytes, November 2023.

Menu Idea

Southwestern Waffle Stack

Krusteaz® Belgian Waffles form the foundation of this extraordinary dish, layered with succulent roasted pork shoulder and the perfect kick of spice from melted pepper jack cheese. Top that with an over-easy egg, a drizzle of vibrant salsa verde, fresh cilantro and red bell pepper strips for a colorful crunch.

  • Krusteaz
  • Gardein
  • Tennessee Pride

Trend in Action

Cracker Barrel (National) Pancake Tacos: Two buttermilk pancakes folded and filled with thick-sliced bacon, fried eggs and shredded Colby cheese; served with a side of syrup for dipping.

It’s going to be a tomato kind of year.

That’s right, the humble tomato is poised to take center stage this year. Bursting with versatility, tomatoes offer chefs an avenue for creative exploration that can help elevate menus across the spectrum, accommodating both classic favorites and innovative, trend-setting dishes. While it may be the traditional whole format that comes to mind when we think of tomatoes, crushed, diced and roasted tomatoes will be vital for busy operators who want more accessible ways to offer customers the trending flavors they’re seeking out this year.

By the Numbers

  • 87% of US menus include tomatoes. Datassential Menu Trends, US menu penetration 2023.
  • 77% of consumers are excited about new food and beverage trends in 2024. Datassential, "2024 Food Trends," FoodBytes, November 2023.

Menu Idea

Tomato Jam and Bacon Grilled Flatbread

This dish uses versatile Angela Mia® Diced Tomatoes in Juice as a base and blends them with finely chopped yellow onions, granulated sugar and balsamic vinegar to create a delectable tomato jam. Spread that on crispy flatbread grilled with PAM® Sauté & Grill Cooking Spray and top with thick-cut bacon, a vibrant mix of baby spinach and arugula and generous shavings of Parmesan cheese.

  • Angela Mia
  • Hunt’s

Trend in Action

Martiny’s (New York) Caprese Cocktail: A new take on the classic Caprese salad using a refreshing combination of tomato water, whiskey, grapefruit juice, basil and milk.

Rewarding single-serve treats.

From miniature desserts to individually portioned savory delights, single-serve treats have become the ultimate in instant gratification across social media, offering a quick and satisfying indulgence that aligns perfectly with the fast-paced, shareable nature of this platform. As the trend continues to captivate audiences, it has become the go-to reward for those seeking a delicious moment of joy in their day.

By the Numbers

  • 34% of consumers treat themselves to an indulgent treat a few times a week. Datassential, "2024 Food Trends," FoodBytes, November 2023.
  • 45% of operators saw an increase in dessert sales over the past year. Datassential, "Dessert Decadence," FoodBytes, June 2023.

Menu Idea

Popcorn and Greek Yogurt Parfait

Start with layers of luscious blueberry nonfat Greek yogurt and divide them up with the satisfying crunch of Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP® Sea Salt Popcorn and the nutty goodness of roasted DAVID® Sunflower Kernels. Finish it all with a drizzle of golden honey for the perfect touch of sweetness.

  • Angie’s
  • David

Trend in Action

Rockfish Seafood & Grill (Texas) Deep-Fried Bread Pudding: Homemade bread pudding, cut into bite-sized pieces and fried, topped with cinnamon sugar, fresh whipped cream and caramel sauce.

Less sweet and salty, more SWEET AND SPICY.

The sweet and spicy fusion trend, aptly named “swicy,” will be growing even stronger this year, captivating palates with its delicious blend of contrasting flavors. From tangy-sweet sauces that pack a punch to desserts infused with a spicy kick, swicy dishes will continue tantalizing taste buds to meet the evolving preferences of adventurous food enthusiasts seeking bold, memorable experiences in every bite.

By the Numbers

  • 111% growth of hot honey on US menus in the last 4 years. Datassential Menu Trends, US menu penetration growth 2019-2023.
  • 62% of consumers say they like or love sweet and spicy food pairings. Datassential Consumer Preferences, 2023.

Menu Idea

Knife & Fork Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich

Take crispy fried chicken breast, nestle it between two Krusteaz® Grande Pancakes and top with a layer of fluffy scrambled eggs infused with herbs. Drizzle a bit of hot honey over the top to create a tantalizing blend of heat and sweetness.

  • Krusteaz
  • Rotel
  • Gulden’s

Trend in Action

Hard Rock Café (National) Wagyu Yaga: Wagyu burger with a sweet and spicy “gunpowder” seasoning, topped with red wine caramelized onions, wasabi cheese sauce, tonkatsu ketchup, leaf lettuce and vine-ripened tomato.

A year full of gluten-free.

A surge in health-conscious dining and increased awareness of dietary preferences will fuel more demand for gluten-free offerings this year. While many chain restaurants now carry gluten-free breads, buns and bagel options for patrons, exploration of new plant-based dishes has led to menu items that are naturally gluten free, which allows operators to meet the needs of a more diverse group of customers featuring the trending dishes and flavors they seek out.

By the Numbers

  • 38% growth of gluten-free items on US menus since 2019. Datassential Menu Trends, US menu penetration growth 2019-2023.
  • Approximately 51% of consumers who choose to eat gluten-free do so for lifestyle or curiosity reasons. Informa, "2023 trends and opportunities in gluten-free," New Hope Network, February 28, 2023.

Menu Idea

Herb Butter Gluten Free Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Start with a blend of Muenster and provolone cheeses and sandwich them between Udi’s® Gluten Free Delicious Soft Multigrain Bread covered in a delicious blend of butter and herbs. Grill it all up to melty, golden perfection.

  • Udi’s
  • Glutino

Trend in Action

Wheat’s End (Chicago) Bagel & House-Cured Lox: Toasted gluten-free everything bagel, house beet-cured lox, herb cream cheese, tomato and red onion.