trend watch

Trend Watch: Lovage, umeboshi, barberry

By Katie Belflower

We’re firmly into fall 2021 already and menus across Canada are looking as always to adapt to the most recent menu trends in foodservice. RestoBiz and Technomic’s latest edition of Trend Watch focuses on three hot-ticket items that are in vogue in Canada right now: lovage, umeboshi, and barberry.


A perennial plant most often found in Southern European cuisine, lovage is a leafy vegetable used for its stems and leaves. Also known as sea parsley, the lovage plant has a celery-like flavour. Like many leafy greens, lovage is vitamin-rich and is known to help with indigestion.

Operators most often feature lovage as a topping to entrees alongside other vegetables. 

Menu examples:

  • Biera in Edmonton, Alta. menued Sourdough Pizza with garlic scape pesto, kale, fior de latte, basil, and lovage.
  • Lulu Bar in Calgary, Alta. served Wood Grilled Asparagus with miso hollandaise, chanterelle mushrooms, yuzu, lovage, and wakame tempura crunch.


Japanese umeboshi is often translated to English as “salted Japanese plums” and has a distinct salty-sour flavour. This pickled ume fruit reflects consumer gravitation toward global ingredients.

Restaurants are spotlighting umeboshi with other bold global ingredients or as a flavourful complement to carb-heavy dishes.

Menu examples:

  • Kost in Toronto offered Tuna Tataki with albacore tuna, ponzu, umeboshi, wasabi, and nori goma.
  • Shokunin in Calgary served a Grilled Rice Ball with umeboshi and miso butter.


Barberries — tart red berries similar to cranberries — are making their way onto Canadian menus. The berries are high in antioxidants, especially vitamin C, demonstrating the continued trend toward functional ingredients.

Operators are serving barberries as a complement to meat dishes or in desserts and cocktails for a tart spin.

Menu examples:

  • Foxy in Montreal menued Muscovy Duck Breast with cocoa beans, endives, tarragon, and walnut and barberry salsa.
  • Babel in Toronto served Afternoon in the Path, a cocktail with Smirnoff vodka, Chambord, lemon and cranberry juice, soda, barberries, and pomegranate.

Trend Watch is a regular contribution to RestoBiz based on restaurant and menu trends noted by Technomic Inc.

Katie Belflower is Associate Editor for Technomic, a Chicago-based foodservice research and consulting firm. Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support they need to enhance their business strategies, decisions and results. The company’s services include publications and digital products as well as proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry, including menu trends.

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