Fried foods are one of the few menu items you can always count on as being fan favorites. Despite having a bad rep for being unhealthy, fried foods remain an American favorite, and as the manufacturers for AutoFry, we can’t help but to agree! Because they prevail on menus year after year, fried foods have seen a fair share of trends come and go. Today we look at some of the fried food trends for 2016 and dive into ways you can incorporate them into your own menu. Whether you’re AutoFrying or frying in a traditional hooded setup, these fried food trends are sweeping the nation with their golden, crispy goodness!
The biggest fried food trend of 2016 is the shift towards handmade and fresh ingredients. This isn’t just apparent in fried foods, in fact the fresh food trend is prevalent across the board as consumers look for more transparency in their food choices. For the fried food end of the trend, think about unique fresh foods that can be fried.
Vegetables are an easy choice when it comes to adding something unique to your menu: green beans, cauliflower, pickles, okra and brussel sprouts all lend themselves well to deep frying, but just about anything can be battered and fried! TO really take this trend to the next level, think seasonal and local. Partnering up with a local farm to add seasonal vegetables to your menu can really liven things up, and because they’re seasonal, you can only offer them for a limited time, driving home the urge to purchase while they’re still available.
Another big fried food trend for 2016 is the combination of sweet and savory. This palate pleasing combo is an old standby that’s taken a slow approach to infiltrating the fried food scene. 2016 however brings forth the resurgence of sweet and savory classics like chicken and waffles.
To incorporate this trend into your menu, try thinking outside the box for items you’ve already mastered. If you currently offer fried dough, consider tossing it in a maple butter glaze with chopped thick cut bacon for a unique spin on a fan favorite. If you’ve got fries on your menu, (and lets face it, you better!) consider topping them with a sweet sauce for an inventive version of poutine. By taking something you already have, it makes updating your menu even easier!
Taking your fried food game up a notch can be as simple as looking to different kinds of cooking oils. Unique fats are another 2016 fried food trend taking menus by storm and they’re an easy way to really change the flavor profile of your fried foods. From canola oil to peanut or sunflower oil, there are plenty of unique frying oils available to you.
For an even richer unique frying oil, look to animal fats like duck fat, chicken fat or even beef tallow. Canadian favorite, Moo Frites serves their French fry menu cooked in traditional oil or, for a small up-charge, customers can opt for the traditional Belgium frite oil and have their fries cooked in beef tallow. This fried food trend is a great way to not only expand your menu, but also find items that you can sell for an additional charge.
Our last fried food trend of the year is another easy one to implement in your preexisting menu: toppings! Taking a dish from ordinary to extraordinary is as easy as coming up with some unique toppings for your dishes. French fries provide the perfect canvas for delicious toppings that can really enhance the experience and overall flavor of a dish. Plus if you top it with something really filling you can turn a side dish into a full meal.
We’ve got a whole blog about over the top fry toppings that you can check out here and here to get some inspiration for jazzing up your menu! Looking to top other fried menu items? Onion rings, fried chicken, and even fried fish all make great bases for an over the top experience, you just have to think outside the box!
There you have it! Four great fried food trends for 2016. Some of these trends have already shown to have staying power, so now is a great time to evaluate your menu and see how you can incorporate these trends into your own brand. Happy FRYday!