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:
- Locally sourced meats and seafood
- Locally grown produce
- Healthful kids’ meals
- Sustainability as a culinary theme
- Children’s nutrition as a culinary theme
- Gluten-free/food allergy-conscious items
- Locally produced wine and beer
- Sustainable seafood
- Whole grain items in kids’ meals
- Newly fabricated cuts of meat, such as the pork flat iron and the beef
- Farm/estate-branded items
- Food trucks / street food
- Artisan spirits
- House-made / Artisan Ice Cream
- Health / nutrition as a culinary theme
- Non-traditional fish
- Fruit / vegetable kids’ side items
- Children’s mini-meals (i.e. smaller versions of adult menu items)
- Culinary cocktails