At the end of 2013, many organizations published foodservice industry trends forecasts for the New Year. We’re rounding up what appear to be the most prominent predictions published. Almost 1,300 members of the American Culinary Federation were surveyed for the The National Restaurant Association (NRA) 2014 Culinary Forecast. Looking at the trends, it is easy to see that “local/sustainable” will be buzzwords in 2014. Six of the top 10 trends relate to local/sustainable foods: Locally sourced meats and seafood, locally grown produce, environmental sustainability, hyper-local sourcing, sustainable seafood and farm/estate branded items. Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the NRA’s research and knowledge group, stated, “Today’s consumers are more interested than ever in what they eat and where their food comes from, and that is reflecting in our menu trends research.”
Technomic agrees in its 10 Trends for 2014, diners’ interest in the origin of their food will continue to grow in 2014. Consumers not only want to know their food is local and sustainable but also want to know that it is authentic, with the report stating, “If the restaurant positions itself as authentically Italian, for instance, it must use ingredients sourced from Italy and/or prepared using authentic Italian methods.” Politics are also predicted to influence consumers’ restaurant choices in 2014. Technomic believes that in 2014, consumers will be more likely to visit restaurants that align with their views and values, whether the decision is deliberate or not.
Sterling-Rice Group’s Cutting-edge Dining Trends 2014 point to more specific local and sustainable ingredients we can expect to see on menus. According to the report, small scale-produced protein sources like goat, rabbit and pigeon will be touted as “feel good” meat options, while seaweed will be a sustainable snack and seasoning. Many of Sterling-Rice Group’s trends revolve around innovative ways to increase nutritional content and maintain high impact flavors—from exploring nut milk applications in sauces and ice creams to poaching meats and vegetables in coffee. Chefs will also utilize tea for its ability to bring flavor to dinners and desserts without increasing fat content. However, not every trend is health conscious; the report states refined classic American items, like steak tartar and creamy bleu cheese drenched salads, will satisfy consumer cravings for full-fat food. What interesting foodservice trends have you seen? Feel free to share your thoughts and predictions in the comment section.