Culinary Trends Shaping the Restaurant Industry in 2024

The Emergence of ‘Ube’

Every year, the culinary world eagerly anticipates the emergence of new flavour trends that make their way into the food and beverage industry. The T. Hasegawa group, a research organization that is a renowned global leader for developing custom flavors and fragrance creations, has established an exciting new discovery. In 2024, they announced that ‘Ube’ is predicted to be ‘flavour of the year’. This vibrant and unique purple yam, native to Southeast Asia, has been making waves in the culinary world.

Pronounced “oo-beh”, this root vegetable is scientifically known as Dioscorea alata. It originates from the Philippines but but has gained international recognition for its exquisite purple hue and unique flavour. The rich violet or lavender colour of ube is entirely natural and contributes its attractiveness as a culinary ingredient and flavoring agent. The flavour profile of Ube presents a distinctive blend of flavors, characterized by nuttiness, sweetness, and a subtle earthiness. The subtle earthy and nutty notes of ube contribute to a balanced flavor profile that is both comforting and intriguing.
Additionally, Ube is proven to be nutrient rich, containing good source of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, and essential nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants that promote overall well-being.
If you are a restauranter or a culinary enthusiast, the following include unique benefits of ways to apply Ube in your dishes. One of the key reasons for the surge in ube’s popularity is its versatility in the kitchen. Ube can be used in a multitude of ways during food and beverage preparations.


Ube can be transformed into a velvety and creamy ube ice cream, ube halaya (a sweet purple yam jam), ube cake, and even ube doughnuts. Its natural sweetness and captivating purple color make it a standout ingredient for creating visually stunning and delicious treats.


Ube’s popularity has extended to the beverage industry, where you can find ube lattes, ube milkshakes, and ube bubble tea. The addition of ube to beverages not only adds a unique purple hue but also infuses a distinct flavor that is hard to resist.

Savoury Dishes

Ube can be incorporated into recipes for purple mashed potatoes, ube gnocchi, and ube-flavored sauces, adding an unexpected twist to traditional dishes.

The Rise of Japanese Bakeries

Historically, there is a unique backstory behind the rise of Japanese bakeries. It is a market that has changed shape over the course of time to become a staple of the Japanese diet. Pan, or bread, in Japan is not at all part of the cultural heritage, yet today the trend is beginning to dominate the Western world. Initially, bread was first brought to Japan by Portuguese traders and missionaries in the mid-16th century, and was quickly embraced by the Japanese people. During the Meiji era (1868-1912), Japan became open to western influences, and as a result, Japan’s bakery shops started baking bread for the foreigners who chose to settle in Japan. From that point onward, bread became more commonplace along with Japan’s rapid industrialisation during this same period. Then, in 1874, a bakery called Kimuraya invented ‘anpan’, a round, sweet variant of bread bun stuffed with red bean paste, known as ‘anko’.
Anko was a common ingredient used in Japanese-style sweets, including it made the transition simpler and gave Kimura’s bakery, Kimuraya Sohonten, notoriety. It still exists today. Anpan was such a success that it was even presented to the Emperor himself, and a boom in bread-based confections followed soon after. This cultural mix of wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets) and western style bread was a resounding success, particularly in Tokyo.

Today, Japanese baked goods offer an array of unconventional fillings and seasonal flavors, including sweetened red beans, corn, black sesame seeds, edamame (soy beans), chestnuts, sweet potato, kabocha pumpkin, and Japanese Nashi Pears.
Amongst the most trending baked goods in Japan, Include: the Japanese Cheesecake, roll cake, Japanese Baumkuchen, Imagawayaki, Taiyaki, Dorayaki and Monaka (crispy mochi wafers with a sweet filling). This can be worth investigating for any aspiring restauranter or entrepreneur looking to diversify their café offering.