The 7 Food Trends That Defined Travel in 2022

Hotels upped their game this year with better non-alcoholic drink offerings, A-list chef pop-ups, and caviar for all.

A hotel room with champagne service

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Travel is finding its footing again after three years of pandemic, and it seems as though people couldn’t be happier to get out and explore the world once again.

According to the World Tourism Organization, international tourism has recovered almost 60% of pre-pandemic levels. It added, “The steady recovery reflects strong pent-up demand for international travel as well as the easing or lifting of travel restrictions to date.” 

And as the U.S. Travel Association reported, travelers spent more than they did pre-pandemic in 2022, splurging on once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. That includes plenty of food-filled adventures, too. 

“As more travelers opted to stay in private villas and apartment-style hotel residences this year, private dining experiences were in high demand,” Nina Ruggiero, the digital editorial director at Travel + Leisure, shares. “It's a trend we expect to stick: There's nothing more luxurious than having the hotel chef come to you — and if the meal comes with a cooking class or demonstration, even better. Cooking with an expert is a great way to learn about the local culture, and bringing a recipe home is the souvenir that keeps on giving.” 

Here’s what else was hot in 2022 in the world of travel, but don’t worry. Many of these trends are expected to stick around in 2023 as well. 

Caviar Bumps for Everyone

The last year marked a big one for caviar in the hospitality space. For example, The Inn Above Tide in Sausalito, California, partnered with Deborah Keane, founder of the California Caviar Company and owner of the Bump Bar, to provide guests with a $100 gift card to the restaurant that serves sustainably farmed caviar, along with a Mother of Pearl Palette to take home as a gift. And in the spring of 2022, Caviar Kaspia announced plans to open its first U.S. outpost at The Mark Hotel in New York City, making it possible for guests to hop down for eggs with caviar, pasta with caviar, or blinis topped with caviar any time they wish. 

Champagne Flowing Like Water

Yes, Champagne is a forever favorite, but in 2022, the bubbly drink truly shined at hotels across the globe. In October, the creators of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train announced its plans to launch a luxury barge to travel through Champagne country and partner with Ruinart for the journey. In fact, the company stated that upon boarding, guests will be greeted with "a refreshing flute of Ruinart, the very soul of Champagne and our partner in this adventure."

The outdoor lounge area on the deck of Coquelicot, A Belmond Boat

Meanwhile, the St. Regis Aspen Resort continued its tradition of gathering guests for a ceremonial Champagne sabering to celebrate the transition from the day into night (which happens at 4:45 p.m. during the winter season and 5:15 p.m. during the summer season), and the appropriately named Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa launched the Champagne Chauffeur offering, a bespoke Champagne itinerary based on guests preferences and sightseeing wish list. (Bottle of in-room Champagne included.) 

Low or No Alcohol Make It to the Menu 

Hotels around the world expanded their bar menus to better cater to all guests, including those who do not wish to indulge in alcohol but still want something fun to sip. In late 2021, Hyatt introduced a no-alcohol cocktail program, which introduced delicious cocktails using Ritual Zero Proof and Fever-Tree products in its bars across brands like the Alila, Andaz, Destination by Hyatt, Hyatt Centric, JdV by Hyatt, The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, and Thompson Hotels. And, as Skift reported, in 2022, Australia-based QT Hotels & Resorts, partnered with non-alcoholic brand Lyre’s to make non-alcoholic drinks a mainstay across its 10 locations. 

Vegetable-Forward Menus

Hotels and resorts in 2022 showcased their love of fruits and veggies, specifically those grown in their on-site gardens. In the fall, Wildflower Farms, Auberge Resorts Collection opened its doors and allowed guests to roam its 140 acres, including its vegetable gardens and orchards, which the chef uses to source produce for meals. And properties like Prince Waikiki made use of its onsite rooftop garden to spice up everything from meals to cocktails. 

Wildflower Farms

Courtesy of Auberge Resorts Collection

Sustainable Offerings

Hotels also stepped up their sustainable offerings in 2022, including items you may never have considered, like switching to cage-free eggs, which help both guests feel better about their stay and hotels meet the bottom line.

“Simply put, more guests are demanding it. Either for health or humane reasons, a growing segment of the population wants these kinds of food options when they travel,” Sarah Davie, president, Source1 Purchasing, a purchasing technology company, shared with Hotel Business. “Hotels and casinos that choose cage-free eggs have the opportunity to promote that to their guests. Also, we’ve noticed a trend of more hotels charging for their breakfast vs. giving it away. This leads to guests demanding a higher quality product even if the product costs a bit more for the hotel operator to purchase.”

In late 2022, IHG Hotels & Resorts launched a partnership with VietHarvest aimed at reducing food waste and feeding communities most in need in Vietnam. According to a statement, the company explained that via the partnership, IHG will prevent food from hotels going to waste and use it to feed a range of communities via a charity network starting in the Hanoi area.

“Throughout our 6,000 hotels, everyone at IHG is committed to our 10-year responsible business plan, ‘Journey to Tomorrow’, which we’re delivering through a series of ambitious commitments to make a positive difference for our people, communities and planet by 2030,” Rajit Sukumaran, managing director of IHG Hotels & Resorts, South East Asia and Korea, shared in a statement. “However, we can’t do that alone, and our new partnership with VietHarvest will help us in two important areas – improving the lives of 30 million people in our communities around the world, and transforming to a minimal-waste hospitality industry.”

Pop-up Tastings

Creating a special moment is what a hotel stay should be all about, and plenty of brands got on board in 2022 with limited-edition pop-ups. Unique offerings included Goldener Hirsch, Auberge Resorts Collection in Deer Valley, Utah, hosting a one-of-a-kind multi-course mustard dinner with Maille and the brand's mustard sommelier, chef Brandon Collins. Others, like One&Only Palmilla, introduced the Culinary Art Series, a calendar of pop-ups hosted by some of the country’s most celebrated emerging Mexican chefs. 

Maille Mustard Dinner
Courtesy of Auberge Resorts

Outdoor Dining

Last, but certainly not least, is a trend that appeared to become the norm in 2022: outdoor dining. What could have been a mere holdover from the early days of the pandemic has turned into a full-fledged dining model for many hotels and resorts, including plenty of bubble domes for personalized meal experiences and mother-nature-inspired meals at farms like Southall, which offers both outdoor dining at this restaurant and in-room dining in screened in porches, so you never have to be too far from fresh air. 

Want more? Check out what’s expected to trend in travel in 2023

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