Now that 2018 has come to an end we’ve had time to reflect on the year ranging from trends we’ve seen in the food industry as a whole as well as within Ajinomoto North America’s foodservice division, we wanted to share our thoughts on the most popular appetizers served at restaurants.

To start things off, fusion foods are here to stay and in 2018 we noticed an increased focus in restaurants including fusion appetizers and entrées, especially when it comes to blending Asian and Mexican flavors. This trend started off very grassroots with food trucks and local restaurants dishing up Asian/Mexican fare then expanded to be more mainstream with chain restaurants introducing new fusion offerings.

Another change we saw in the food industry in 2018 that we helped lead the charge in was taking foods people know and love, such as fried foods, and offering a greater variety. Our Fred’s for Starters brand now offers everything from classics to battered and breaded broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, okra, zucchini and more!

Lastly, though the classics still reign supreme (mozzarella sticks are a prime example), restaurant patrons are looking for a new take, which is one of the reasons we created products like the Fred’s for Starters Hotzzarella Sticks which are a Jalapeño-peppered mozzarella cheese stick in a spicy red pepper and vinegar-flavored coating.

We anticipate these trends to continue to evolve in 2019 and the most popular appetizers served at restaurants will come in 3 forms: the classics, reimagining classics, and the addition of new fusion appetizers that meld many cuisines.