Consumer Trends

What Operators Should Know About The “Food Bowl” Trend

Over the past several years, the concept of the “food bowl” has become increasingly popular—for a number of reasons. First, they’re versatile, allowing operators to combine an array of ingredients for a complete meal all in one convenient bowl. Second, they’re infinitely customizable, so diners can pick and choose the foods they want—and don’t want—to eat. And finally, they allow operators to experiment easily with different flavors, textures and ingredients, while still offering their customers a familiar format they’ll be comfortable trying. As bowl meals continue to trend, here’s why operators should add them to the menu—and some recipe inspiration for doing so.


Food bowls have become popular among operators thanks to the versatility they offer—many meals can be created from a combination of ingredients, and there are different options to fill menu spots all day long—smoothie bowls for the breakfast rush, grain or salad bowls for the lunch hour and noodle bowls for dinner, for instance. Operators can offer comfort foods or better-for-you options, both of which have risen in popularity over the last few years. Comfort foods, including dishes such as macaroni and cheese, pizza, fried chicken, pasta, Mexican options and more, lend well to bowl meals and according to a study from One Poll and Farm Rich, two in three Americans turned to more comfort foods during the pandemic, and 69% of them plan to continue enjoying comfort foods post-pandemic. Better-for-you options, such as grain bowls, have also proliferated as consumers have prioritized their health more in recent years. And because bowl meals are the perfect platform to pack lots of healthful ingredients in one place, many consumers enjoy eating them, not just for convenience or great taste, but also for their health benefits.


Food bowls are also popular among consumers. Not only do they allow for maximum customization, from the base to the toppings to the sauces and add-ons, but customization helps create value for consumers as well, with nearly one in four consumers saying so, according to Technomic’s 2023 Value & Pricing Consumer Trend Report. For operators, creating value for diners is crucial, as it helps boost interest in repeat visits. Customization also helps with dietary needs/preferences as well as allergies—since customers get to pick what they want in their bowls, they can simply avoid foods they can’t eat or don’t like. Customization allows diners to create food bowls with the flavors and textures they love most, from crunchy vegetables to al dente grains, spicy sauces, herbaceous dressings and more—the possibilities are endless!


Bowl meals come in many forms—acai bowls and smoothie bowls, which use fresh and frozen fruits; poke bowls, comprised of raw fish, rice and other toppings; and grain bowls, which can feature any number of mix-ins, just to name a few. Grain bowls include grains such as quinoa, brown rice, farro and others, and are often paired with vegetables and proteins to make a complete meal. They represent a high-protein, plant-forward option, and when the grains are ancient grains, the superfood factor gets punched up even more. No matter what diners are interested in eating, there’s a food bowl out there they’ll love.

Recipe inspiration

From globally inspired options to riffs on classics, there’s a bowl meal for everyone. Try offering one of these options on the menu:

  • Gochujang Farro Bowl: Featuring Korean gochujang paste, this hearty bowl packs a punch with cabbage, snap peas, Furmano’s Fully Cooked Farro, green onions, tomatoes and more. It’s sure to satisfy.
  • Falafel Bowl: Perfect for vegetarians or diners who want a plant-based option, this dish features Furmano’s Lentils, Quinoa and Garbanzo Beans complimented with flavorful shakshuka sauce, hummus, lettuce, and cucumber. A Mediterranean favorite made easy!
  • Sorghum Brunch Bowl: An interesting addition to any brunch menu, this dish offers sweet and savory flavors, using Furmano’s Fully Cooked Sorghum as well as pork belly, eggs and more—a hearty way to start the day!
  • Sorghum Tabbouleh: For a flavorful bowl packed with nutrients, try this option made with Furmano’s Fully Cooked Sorghum, parsley, cucumbers, tomatoes, green onion, mint, garlic, lemon juice and more.  Perfect on its own or with a protein added, it’s great for lunch or dinner.

To learn more about crafting the perfect bowl meal using ancient grains, visit

This post is sponsored by Furmano’s


Exclusive Content


Saladworks-parent WOWorks is shopping for new brands to buy

The platform company is almost finished assimilating its existing six brands. Now it's time to add to the family, said CEO Kelly Roddy.


2 more reminders that the restaurant business is risky

The Bottom Line: Franchising is no less risky than opening your own restaurant. Just ask former NFL player David Tyree and the former president of McDonald's Mexico.


There's plenty happening at the high end of the pricing barbell, too

Reality Check: Decadent meal choices are also proliferating, for a lot more than $5.