Food Concepts & Ideas

In addition to providing concession equipment and supplies, Gold Medal is committed to sharing expert food ideas that will keep you feeling creative. Fresh twists on old favorites, new food trends, and other menu suggestions offer inspiration for you to build on to surprise and delight your customers. Use these concepts to spark ideas of your own and add new energy to your concession business.


Current Food Trends to Watch in 2023

What’s Next in 2023 Food Trends Across Industries

As you plan the future of your foodservice operations, it’s essential to know what food trends are leading the way for the coming year. Looking to 2023, we want to examine what we are seeing across different venues. Whether your business is a grocery store, stadium, restaurant, concession stand, or gourmet popcorn shop, these are the key developments you’ll want to be aware of. Use these insights to stay ahead of the curve, wow your customers, and give yourself an edge over the competition. Let’s dig in!


Grocery Stores

According to Grocery Business, along with an uptick in in-store shopping, the trend they are seeing is an overall comeback in the fresh departments. The perimeter is where the most opportunity is currently. And that includes fresh popcorn shops. According to Kroger Chief Merchant Stuart Aitken, “fresh is the number one determinant of store choice, as 70% of customers base their preferred shopping venue on fresh offerings.” By offering an in-store fresh popcorn shop, groceries benefit from an increase in shopper traffic, new sales opportunities, and higher than average profit potential when compared to other typical products. Popcorn complements other perimeter offerings including the deli and bakery. With Gold Medal’s Sweet Shop Setup, your store can be equipped to produce gourmet popcorn, fudge, and other special treats like cotton candy and candy & caramel apples. Even if you can’t commit to a full complete setup, there are scalable options including popper placement and bulk popcorn programs that can help you to sell popcorn in your store. (Read 4 Ways to Bring Popcorn to Your Grocery Store for more info.)


Stadiums and Arenas

Food Management recently reported on the newest concession offerings of NBA and NHL arenas across the country. Waffles are making a big appearance in nontraditional ways. The Chicken Waffle Cone from Amway Center in Orlando features crispy chicken bites packed into a waffle cone and served with a choice of sauces. The SAP Center in San Jose has created a Meatball Cone with Italian-style meatballs in marinara sauce topped with mozzarella cheese served in a waffle cone. And Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center is serving up a Cheetos Flamin’ Hot breaded chicken tender wrapped in a buttermilk bubble waffle and topped with ranch dressing. As you can tell, waffles aren’t just for breakfast anymore! There’s lots of opportunity to create your own unique waffles that customers will love. (Find more creative waffle recipes here!)



More visits to restaurants are predicted, which means increased competition for customer dollars. Restaurant visit occasions are likely to remain popular as rising grocery prices are outpacing dining costs, states an article from Food Business News. What’s key for driving the best customer experience is local flavors. Restaurants will need to create signature items that connect with individuals’ demographics and/or preferences. The National Restaurant Association predicts the rise of flavor and functional twists on traditional staples. How can you achieve this? One of the easiest ways to expand your menu is with Signature Shakes®. From wings to fries, burgers and beyond, these shake-on seasonings raise the bar for flavor. (View our recipes for inspiration.) Available in multiple sizes, including shakers, jars, and bulk, explore all the Signature Shakes flavors, like Cajun, Mediterranean Herb, Dill, and more! Discover which flavors resonate best with your customer base.


Concession Stands

If you sell popcorn, you need to know the latest news in salty snacks. According to the Food Institute, the flavor that is at the heart of everyone’s most favorite salty snacks is cheese! Research shows that cheese-flavored snacks outpace the entire savory snack category in product innovation and launches. There are lots of variations you can do with popcorn using different flavors of cheese including cheddar, white cheddar, garlic parmesan, nacho cheese, and more. With options including cheese pastes or shake-on flavors, you can find the products and process that work best for your business. Consumers have deep ties with cheese-flavored foods, which means individuals have an emotional response of comfort, nostalgia, and indulgence. So, look for more cheesy snacks to be popular in 2023.


Gourmet Popcorn Shops, Bakeries, and More

Consumers are looking for complex flavors and unexpected combinations, reports Food Technology Magazine. Nicknamed the “Sweet Plus” trend, there’s a push for sweet plus heat flavors. This can be easily accomplished with gourmet popcorn and fudge. For example, Spicy Aztec Chocolate Fudge combines chocolate fudge with Ghost Pepper Flavacol and churro seasoning to create a flavor rich experience. Some speculate that this food trend will drive other versions as well, like sweet plus sour. Did you know it takes just one ingredient to create sour variations of your favorite flavors? Gold Medal’s Sour Attitude can be used in combination with cherry, green apple, or lemon to add a lip-puckering sour kick to your gourmet popcorn. (There’s also a liquid version of Sour Attitude for use with Sno-Kone® syrups!)


With each passing year, trends emerge that impact our food choices. And with exciting flavors, new ingredients, and creative developments, you can make sure your menu is ready with what consumers want most. No matter what area of foodservice you are in, Gold Medal can help you to take advantage of the latest food trends.

For more on building and growing your concession food business, please visit our Concession Insights section. Ready to meet with one of our concession professionals to discuss your specific needs? Find your nearest Gold Medal dealer or call our corporate headquarters at 800-543-0862. Consult with the industry experts to spark new ideas and find ways to maximize your business.