Local sourcing, children’s meals top menu trends

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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WASHINGTON – Sourcing local ingredients and children’s nutrition topped the National Restaurant Association’s list of “What’s Hot” culinary forecast of menu trends for 2013.

The top 10 menu trends for 2013 are:

1. Locally sourced meats and seafood
2. Locally grown produce
3. Healthful kids' meals
4. Environmental sustainability as a culinary theme
5. Children's nutrition as a culinary theme
6. New cuts of meat (e.g. Denver steak, pork flat iron, teres major)
7. Hyper-local sourcing (e.g. restaurant gardens)
8. Gluten-free cuisine
9. Sustainable seafood
10. Whole grain items in kids' meals

“It is encouraging to see that children’s nutrition remains a top priority for chefs and that they continue to put their creativity in healthful kids meals to work on restaurant menus,” said Joy Dubost, Ph.D, R.D., director of Nutrition & Healthy Living for the National Restaurant Association. “We have seen an increasing interest in health and nutrition among consumers over the last several years, and that interest is also extended to children’s menus, which has helped make our Kids LiveWell program so successful.”

“Local sourcing is another macro-trend that will maintain its momentum in the restaurant community in 2013. Whether purchased from local farms or grown in onsite gardens, many chefs make use of seasonal ingredients to showcase on their menus,” she added.

The menu trends and forecasts were comprised of survey responses by 1,834 American Culinary Federation member chefs in October-November 2012. In the survey, respondents were asked to rate 198 individual food items, beverages, preparation methods, cuisines and culinary themes as a “hot trend,” “yesterday’s news,” or “perennial favorite” on restaurant menus in 2013.

Other trends included:

• Farm/estate branded items
• Non-wheat noodles/pasta (e.g. quinoa, rice, buckwheat)
• Non-traditional fish (e.g. branzino, Arctic char, barramundi)
• Ethnic-inspired breakfast items (e.g. Chorizo scrambled eggs, coconut milk pancakes)
• Fruit/vegetable children's side items
• Health/nutrition as a culinary theme
• Half-portions/smaller portions for a smaller price
• House-made/artisan ice cream
• Black/forbidden rice
• Food trucks

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