2012 Restaurant Food Trends Round-Up

As usual, around this time of the year, publications, consultants and organizations are submitting their predictions for 2012’s restaurant food trends and popular developments.

2012 Restaurant Predictions

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) released a report from Technomic, a food service research and consulting firm, speculating that many upcoming foodservice trends relate to the unstable economy. For example, customers are not interested in taking risks, so look for novel and comfort foods to take on a twist, and for innovative foods to take on a more familiar look. There will be greater emphasis on cooking with seasonal and local items, as well as keeping the focus on simple and classic applications. It is also reported that more customers will demand transparency as they want to know more about the ingredients, allergens and origins of their food. More consumers are also taking to social media to review and recommend their restaurant experience with the public.

Thai food gains popularity

Nation’s Restaurant News, a media network for the restaurant industry, reports that Thai cuisine and street-style Indian food will be among 2012’s hottest food trends as more of the country’s popular ingredients go mainstream. Savory-flavored ice creams, hand-pulled noodles and infused liquors are also expected to rise in popularity, according to the report.

Restaurant Hospitality, a website dedicated to the success of full-service restaurants for chefs and commercial food service professionals, also cites the economy as why stand-alone restaurants may struggle this year. Even so, the website says a big upcoming trend is incorporating flavors from all over the world into a single dish. Commentary from the website also suggests that new trends may include sandwich bread alternatives, house-made pickles, and early drinking/late night dining, as the working hours are becoming later and company travel is more abundant. They also mention that odd animal parts (tongue, gizzards, etc.) will begin showing up anywhere from upscale restaurants to late-night bars.

What have you been seeing at local restaurants?

Despite a rougher economy, we have uncovered many interesting food trends expected to debut in 2012. Have you seen any other interesting predictions? Do you agree with the possibility of these new trends? Leave us a comment below and help start the discussion on what is in store for the new year.