Nation’s Restaurant News recently shared four food trends spotted by Datassential:
1. Specialty Ingredients
This trend is most commonly exhibited in protein options. Pork belly, steak tartare and wild salmon are chief among the more premium items appearing on menus. Specialty bread is experiencing a rise in popularity as well.
2. New Ethnic Flavors
Restaurants are moving past traditional flavors (i.e. Japanese teriyaki) and are experimenting with new flavors and ingredients primarily from Asian, Mediterranean and Latin American cuisines. Examples include the rise of Thai chili sauce and the increasing availability of Vietnamese bánh mì sandwiches.
3. Healthful Offerings
Healthful offerings are gaining more representation on menus, and in ways that help consumers feel as if they aren’t depriving themselves. Terms like “all-natural” and “locally sourced” are more prevalent (and more appetizing) than “low-fat.” The star ingredient of this trend is quinoa, which has recently experienced a surge in popularity nationwide.
4. New Vegetables
Complementing the healthful offerings trend, previously lesser-known vegetables are coming into the spotlight. Most notable are kale, brussels sprouts, celery root, mustard greens and beets. Kale especially being embraced from coast to coast and in a variety of different cuisines.
Overarching national trends like these are worth noting — and heeding. Healthful eating isn’t “trendy;” it has staying power. Consider adding unusual vegetables, whole grains and h premium proteins to your menu. Experiment with ethnic flavors and interesting breads. Staying in tune with trends — without being trendy — will keep your establishment on point and your customers happy.