May 17th, 2021

Modern Comfort Foods: Meatloaf Trends

Posted in Consumer Trends, Restaurants

Meatloaf is Back in the Wave of Modern Comfort Foods

Modern Comfort Foods

2021 is proving to be the year of modern comfort foods.

We’ve seen a big uptick in unique fried chicken creations along with other stick-to-your-ribs foods like mac and cheese and innovative pizzas. And while there’s an increased interest in healthful foods, that’s not slowing down the desire for comforting indulgence.

With this trend has also come a renewed interest in, you guessed it, meatloaf! I grew up having bacon-wrapped or ketchup slathered meatloaf at least once a month, and according to recent trend research there’s a good chance you did too.

With nostalgia (particularly of the late 90’s and early 2000’s) driving comfort food trends, meatloaf is the next logical platform for innovation. So, let’s see who’s doing what with this protein powerhouse.

Modern Comfort Food Trends: Meatloaf

Haywire

Modern Comfort Foods

Image courtesy of getflavor.com

Let’s start with a more unique take on the classic. Haywire Restaurant out of Plano, TX. Their savory loaf is made from house-ground Texas Wagyu and Cherrywood bacon.

The meat is seasoned with panko, eggs, celery, onions, spices, and chipotle peppers, then brushed with chipotle ketchup. Sliced cold, each serving of meatloaf is grilled to order, giving it a touch of smoke and char.

Boston Market

Meatloaf Trends

Image courtesy of BostonMarket.com

Boston Market has long held meatloaf as a menu staple. They offer a more classic approach, featuring ground beef mixed with special seasonings, onions, tomato puree, and toasted breadcrumbs.

But, to add a little excitement to the proceedings, it’s smothered in zesty, hickory ketchup. The tangy, smoky flavor works perfectly with the savory profile. And if you’re feeling extra zesty, sauce it up with their zesty BBQ sauce.

Lazy Dog

Meatloaf Trends

Image courtesy of lazydogrestaurants.com

Lazy Dog Restaurants chooses to really up the ante with their BBQ Bison Meatloaf. Made with all-natural Durham Ranch grass-raised Wyoming bison and flavored with smoked bacon and seasonings, it’s just the right amount of change to be modern, but still classic.

For the perfect finishing touch, the bison loaf is slathered in smoky BBQ sauce. It’s enough to get your mouth watering just thinking about it.

Urban Plates

Plant Based meatloaf

Image courtesy of urbanplates.com

To keep up with trends we had to include at least one plant-based meatloaf, and no one is doing it better than Urban Plates.

Their “Meatless Loaf” features a plant-based loaf of garden veggies, black beans, and organic quinoa. It’s finished with a generous serving of tangy homemade tomato jam. It’s all the comfort, sans the meat.

Just Like Mom Used to Make

Or not. Really, it’s up to you. That’s the fun part about modern comfort food trends, they’re all about inspiring nostalgia rather than replicating it. So, grab a slice of meatloaf, slather it in your favorite tomato or BBQ sauce, and relax in the feelings of times past. We won’t judge.

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May 3rd, 2021

Cauliflower Wings – New Flavor Trends

Posted in Consumer Trends, Restaurants, Retail

Cauliflower Wings Have Officially Emerged as a Flavor Trend

Cauliflower Wings

With 2021 trends leading towards fried chicken, spicy sauces, and vegetables, it should be no surprise to see cauliflower wings emerging as a hot ticket item.

While we’ve seen a few iterations appear in 2020, it looks like 2021-2022 might be a breakout window for the veggie focused snack. This trend was certainly boosted by the increase of interest brought upon by the Super Bowl.

Health conscious and veg-forward eaters clambered to find lighter alternatives to the normal Super Bowl fare and cauliflower wings offered a perfect balance.

So, let’s see how this trend falls into the menu adoption cycle and how it’s currently appearing in restaurants.

Cauliflower Wings for the Win

The Menu Adoption Cycle

According to Datassential’s Menu Adoption Cycle, cauliflower wings are currently in the Adoption phase. This means that they can be found in specialty retailers and progressive fast-casual restaurants.

In fact, you can find frozen cauliflower wings from brands like RollinGreens at Whole Foods and Walmart. Birds Eye also offers a whole lineup of crispy cauliflower flavors available at most major grocery stores in the frozen vegetables section.

By the retail standard, cauliflower wings may be pushing past Adoption and toward Proliferation. But let’s not count our chickens (or in this case, cruciferous vegetables), before they hatch.

Cauliflower Wings in Restaurants

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

Image courtesy of BiteSizedBett.com

One of the earliest adopters for cauliflower wings was the movie theatre/restaurant chain Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Their menu features vegan buffalo cauliflower wings served with vegan ranch dressing.

They’re just the right amount of spicy and crispy and won’t leave you missing their chicken-based analog.

Buffalo Wild Wings

Veggie Trends

Image courtesy of BuffaloWildWings.com

This one should come as no surprise. Buffalo Wild Wings features breaded cauliflower wings on their menu, but here you can select any sauce or dry rub you choose.

That means you have the option of over 26 different flavors to dazzle your tastebuds. We recommend the Nashville Hot if you’re feeling adventurous.

Donatos Pizza

2021 Foods Trends

Image courtesy of Dayton.com

Never shy about innovation, Donatos Pizza now offers cauliflower wings.  Where they differ is that their wings are oven-baked, rather than fried. While only currently available in Dayton-area restaurants, the likelihood they spread to other areas is very high.

Plus, Donatos allows you to flavor your cauliflower wings with any dry rub or delicious sauce of your choice. Here’s to options!

It’s a Cauliflower Revolution

While cauliflower continues to make its way into everything, I for one am glad to find it in wing format. The neutral flavor profile and al dente texture of cauliflower allows flavorful sauces to shine bright. Whether it’s buffalo, BBQ, Nashville Hot, or spicy sambal, there’s no wrong choice for cauliflower wings. Just make sure there’s an extra side of sauce for dunking.

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