Metz Culinary Management, Inc. (Metz) has released its 2024 culinary trends for education, healthcare and commercial cuisine sectors as well as environmental services.
“Our chefs and dietitians study the direction our industry is poised to take every year,” said Maureen Metz, Executive Vice President of Metz. “We listen closely to what our guests are saying and then create new recipes and employ technologies that they will enjoy and engage with.”
Here’s what to look for in the coming year: (1) nostalgic foods, (2) chaos cuisine, (3) ancient grains and heritage ingredients, (4) upcycling and zero waste, and (5) technology that increases efficiency and reduces checkout times.
Vintage-inspired recipes have made a comeback in recent years. Metz expects to see a growing focus on nostalgic ingredients that remind guests of products they ate when growing up. For Metz, this includes old-school comfort foods like cheeseburger casserole and retro candy flavors and cereals. Metz’s chefs are working classic cereal and candies into doughnut toppings to enchant partners and their guests by reaching back into the past.
“The other day, I spotted my high school-aged daughters enjoying packs of Necco Wafers and Candy Buttons,” said Chef John Selick, Director of Culinary for Metz. “The classic candies, cereals and dishes going back to the 1950s through 1990s are not only delighting those of us who remember these foods from our childhoods, they are also capturing the imagination of a whole new generation.”
As the U.S. becomes increasingly diverse, the fusion of ethnic dishes to create blended flavors is crashing headlong into chaos cuisine. It takes fusion to the next level by overlapping multiple culinary traditions into unique, tasty recipes. Metz’s chefs are combining flavors of the world into new, fun dishes. Some of Metz’s favorites slated to roll out in 2024 include:
- Corned beef reuben okonomiyaki (okonomiyaki are savory Japanese street food pancakes)
- Fried rice reimagined and inspired by curries and ingredients from India
Ancient Grains and Heritage Ingredients
Metz’s chefs have utilized ancient grains for years to create delicious recipes that incorporate the health benefits that guests crave. In the coming year, look for more recipes that honor diverse cultures through food, especially those highlighting ancient grains and heritage ingredients.
Metz’s chefs have developed a line of new recipes in partnership with research and development chefs at Furmano’s, known for their commitment to using environmentally friendly techniques to grow and harvest tomatoes at their peak of color, flavor and freshness. Metz will be serving up offerings that include:
- More salad options with grains like quinoa and farro
- House-made veggie burger
- Ancient grain porridge that will complement Metz’s hot cereal bars
Upcycling and Zero Waste
On the environmental services front, expect to see upcycling, which transforms food scraps into useful, new products, and the zero-waste movement to continue to grow across the industry.
Upcycling products that would typically be thrown out and focusing on waste reduction will continue to be a top priority for Metz. In that regard, Metz has partnered with Leanpath to help its kitchens become more mindful of overproduction, resulting in a 30% reduction in food waste and a smaller carbon footprint. To meet the increased demand for plant-based recipes, Metz is upcycling vegetable trim into tasty broths used in soups and to flavor plant-powered dishes.
“As culinarians, we are looking at food scraps that could be repurposed as they still have a ton of flavor. For example, strawberry tops and pineapple rinds fit nicely into the infusers for our spa water stations,” said Brian Bachman, Vice President of Purchasing/Culinary for Metz. “We love the impact that upcycling has had on reducing greenhouse gasses and reducing our carbon footprint.”
Technology that saves guests time is on the rise. Metz has partnered with Mashgin to deliver contactless checkout technology to airports, healthcare facilities and other high-volume locations. The technology utilizes 3D cameras combined with A.I to streamline the checkout process, reduce the time purchasers spend in the cashier line and improve the overall payment process. Guests simply place their items on a scanner for instant checkout, pay and then leave.
Metz is also developing a pilot program for a biometrics solution that associates a purchaser’s payment method with their palm scan. The biometrics technology will save purchasers’ time and improve hygiene, which is essential to hospitals.
In addition, Metz plans to launch its Just Walk Out C-store concept in partnership with select accounts and Amazon in early 2024. Just Walk Out allows shoppers to enter a store using their credit card or palm recognition linked to a credit card, take the products they are looking for off the shelf and then just walk out of the store. Items in the shopper’s virtual shopping cart automatically charge to their card upon exit.
With its commitment to forward-thinking, out-of-the-box strategies, the Metz team is laser-focused on new ways to delight guests with exciting, flavorful culinary dishes and technology-powered solutions thatmake the checkout process a seamless experience.