Local sourcing, environmental sustainability and healthful kids' meals keep gaining steam as the top trends on restaurant menus in 2015, according to the National Restaurant Association's annual What’s Hot culinary forecast.
The NRA surveyed nearly 1,300 professional chefs – members of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) – to find which foods, cuisines, beverages and culinary themes will be hot trends on restaurant menus in 2015.
“As consumers today increasingly incorporate restaurants into their daily lives, they want to be able to follow their personal preferences and philosophies no matter where or how they choose to dine,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research for the National Restaurant Association. “So, it’s only natural that culinary themes like local sourcing, sustainability and nutrition top our list of menu trends for 2015. Those concepts are wider lifestyle choices for many Americans in other aspects of their lives that also translate into the food space.”
“Chefs are committed to supporting their communities and helping make responsible food choices,” said Thomas Macrina, CEC, CCA, AAC, national president of the American Culinary Federation. “I am pleased that members of the American Culinary Federation continue to support local sourcing and sustainable food practices as an annual trend and are paving the way for these values to become part of everyday American cooking.”
In addition, the What’s Hot in 2015 survey found that the top five alcohol and cocktail trends will be micro-distilled/artisan spirits, locally produced beer/wine/spirits, onsite barrel-aged drinks, regional signature cocktails, and culinary cocktails.
Items that gained most in trendiness since last year in the annual survey included underutilized fish, doughnuts, ethnic condiments, grass-fed beef, brown/wild rice, and grilled vegetables. Items with the largest drop in “hot trend” rating included bruschetta, kale salads, nose-to-tail cooking, hybrid dessertss, and house-made soft drinks.
When asked which current food trend will be the hottest menu trends 10 years from now, environmental sustainability topped the list, followed by local sourcing, nutrition and ethnic cuisines and flavors.
The chefs were also asked how they feel about customers taking photos of their food and posting on social media during their meals. Nearly three in five chefs said it's free advertising and should be encouraged, and about a third said it's fine as long as they're discrete. Only one in 10 chefs said it's disruptive and should be discouraged.
Get the full results at Restaurant.org/FoodTrends.