Locally sourced meat, seafood, and produce again top the list of hot menu trends as predicted by chefs.

In a survey of nearly 1,800 chefs who belong to the American Culinary Federation, conducted from October – November 2011 by the National Restaurant Association, locally sourced meats and seafood was the top trend predicted for 2012, followed by locally sourced produce.

Hyper-local items, such as ingredients from restaurants’ own gardens, rank fourth on the list, and a third of chefs at full service restaurants who were surveyed said they had gardens on-site.

The top 20 predicted hot menu trends are:

  1. Locally sourced meats and seafood
  2. Locally grown produce
  3. Healthful kids’ meals
  4. Hyper-local
  5. Sustainability as a culinary theme
  6. Children’s nutrition as a culinary theme
  7. Gluten-free/food allergy-conscious items
  8. Locally produced wine and beer
  9. Sustainable seafood
  10. Whole grain items in kids’ meals
  11. Newly fabricated cuts of meat, such as the pork flat iron and the beef
  12. Farm/estate-branded items
  13. Food trucks / street food
  14. Artisan spirits
  15. House-made / Artisan Ice Cream
  16. Health / nutrition as a culinary theme
  17. Non-traditional fish
  18. Fruit / vegetable kids’ side items
  19. Children’s mini-meals (i.e. smaller versions of adult menu items)
  20. Culinary cocktails
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