menu trends

Menu trends to watch: creative burgers and plant-based proteins

By Aaron Jourden

Below we will highlight some of the leading menu trends to watch on Canadian menus in March 2017.

Offbeat burgers

About the trend: From over-the-top preparations to ultra-spicy flavours to ethnic inspirations, more and more operators are marching to the beat of their own drummer to stand out in the burger category.

  • From food trucks to fast casuals to casual dining
  • Asian, Latin and regional American variations
  • Three of the fastest-growing burger ingredients over the past year are prime rib, habanero and macaroni, according to Technomic MenuMonitor data

Menu Examples:

  • Kelseys Original Roadhouse’s The Big Daddy burger with bacon, mac and cheese and sloppy Joes
  • Vera’s Burger Shack’s Golden Lobster burger topped with 24-karat gold flakes and a 4-ounce lobster tail
  • Kobob Burger’s signature Korean rice burger

Plant-based proteins

About the trend: Vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians are fueling the rise of more plant-based proteins.

  • Some diners want to avoid animal meats, even if only on certain occasions
  • Veganism and vegetarianism increasingly moving into the mainstream
  • Mentions of vegan are up about 46 per cent on restaurant menus over the past year, per Technomic MenuMonitor data

Menu Examples:

  • Freshii’s new vegan chili with avocado and broccoli
  • Jugo Juice’s Power Plant smoothie bowl with kale, avocado and hemp hearts
  • L’Gros Luxe’s Classic Poutine with tempeh topping

Sweet and savoury pairings

About the trend: The rise of mashups, fusion dishes and all-day breakfast options is ushering in more dishes that combine sweet and savoury flavour profiles.

  • Taking place across dayparts and mealparts
  • Bold, exciting and unexpected ingredient combinations
  • Some 16 per cent of consumers—and 24 per cent of 18 to 24 year-olds—say that desserts that feature savoury ingredients are appealing, according to Technomic’s 2016 Canadian Dessert Consumer Trend Report

Menu Examples:

  • Robin’s Donuts’ Strawberry Jam French Toast Bagel Brekwich with egg, cheese, ham and jam
  • Country Style’s Maple Bacon Doughnut
  • Dairy Queen’s new Honey BBQ Glazed Chicken Strips

About the author:

Aaron Jourden is the managing editor – global & distribution at Chicago-based Technomic Inc., a Winsight company. Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support they need to enhance their business strategies, decisions and results. Its services include publications and digital products, as well as proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry. For more information visit

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