Industry News | December 4, 2012
NRA Shows You What's Hot for 2013
The National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) “What’s Hot in 2013” survey of more than 1,800 professional chefs—members of the American Culinary Federation (ACF)—reveals that children’s nutrition and local sourcing will continue to be the hottest trends on restaurant menus.
The chefs also said the best ways to address rising food costs are to change menus, adjust plate composition, and explore sourcing options.
According to the survey, the top 10 menu trends for 2013 will be:
- Locally sourced meats and seafood
- Locally grown produce
- Healthful kids' meals
- Environmental sustainability as a culinary theme
- Children's nutrition as a culinary theme
- New cuts of meat (e.g. Denver steak, pork flat iron, teres major)
- Hyper-local sourcing (e.g. restaurant gardens)
- Gluten-free cuisine
- Sustainable seafood
- 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,” says Joy Dubost, Ph.D, R.D., director of nutrition & healthy living for the NRA. “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.”
Dubost adds, “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.”
Michael Ty, CEC, AAC, ACF national president, says, “I am pleased that members of the American Culinary Federation, who took part in the survey, continue to make children’s nutrition a top priority for 2013. Many ACF members are heavily involved in this effort all across the U.S., both in community programs and with Chefs Move to Schools.
“Making sure that nutritious food is available for children and their families, and for everyone in the U.S., is paramount to the future of foodservice,” he adds. “An emphasis on local sourcing can only further that effort, as chefs revise menus to better serve their customers while dealing with the increased cost of ingredients.”
Rounding out the top 20 hot menu trends for 2013 are:
- Farm/estate branded items
- Nonwheat noodles/pasta (e.g. quinoa, rice, buckwheat)
- Nontraditional 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
Items that received the highest scores as waning trends (i.e. yesterday’s news) are: froth/air/foam, ramen, gazpacho, “fun-shaped” children’s items, mini-burgers/sliders, flavored/enhanced water, bacon-flavored chocolate, flavored popcorn, fish collars, and desserts with bacon.
Items that received the highest scores as perennial favorites are: Italian cuisine, hamburgers/cheeseburgers, egg dishes, French toast, barbeque, fruit desserts (cobbler, pie, tart), comfort foods, grilling, milkshakes, and Mexican cuisine.
Also included in the survey were questions about technology trends, rising food costs, and nutritious recipes.
More than half (55 percent) of the chefs said they always make efforts to adjust dishes and recipes to be more healthful, while 37 percent said they cook with nutrition in mind, but that not all recipes are easily adjusted.
When asked how to best handle the increasing cost of ingredients, one-third (32 percent) said changing menus, one-quarter (25 percent) said adjusting plate composition, and another quarter (24 percent) said exploring new sourcing options.
Only 4 percent said that raising menu prices is the best strategy.
Just over one-quarter of the chefs (27 percent) ranked tablet computers, such as iPads, as the hottest technology trend in restaurants in 2013, followed closely by smartphone apps (25 percent).
Nineteen percent said mobile/wireless/pay-at-the-table options will be the hottest tech trend.
Highlighting that the restaurant industry is one of opportunity for advancement and entrepreneurship, nine out of 10 (89 percent) of the chefs started their foodservice career at entry level, with dishwasher, busser, line cook, and prep cook being the most common first jobs.
The NRA surveyed 1,834 ACF member chefs in October–November 2012, asking them 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.
These and many other restaurant trends will be showcased at the 2013 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, to be held May 18–21 at Chicago’s McCormick Place.
Food & Beverage
Move Over 4-Leggers, 2-Leggers Coming In!
Just ran across some surprising breakfast info and thought it was worth sharing, then watching where it goes. Although McDonald’s has offered its Southern Style Chicken Biscuit on the breakfast menu for several years now, and of course, Chick-fil-A menus chicken at breakfast, it came as a surprise to this writer that both chicken and turkey have gained significant ground on the breakfast menu. It seemed worthy of further investigation.
It turns out that both turkey and chicken have been getting more popular as a component of the morning meal. In a report published earlier this year, Technomic found that 24% of consumers surveyed said they’ve been eating turkey at breakfast more often than they had two years before, while 11% had been eating more chicken.
I dug further. Technomic also found that 70% of those saying their poultry consumption had risen mentioned a desire to eat more healthfully was the motivator behind their choices.
Okay, so chicken or turkey in the morning. But where were these people getting their wake-up proteins? Were they all firing up their broilers in the morning? Seemed unlikely.
So were they were going to McDonald’s or Chick-fil-A? Could be, but I discovered there are many operators offering chicken or turkey items in the a.m., I just hadn’t had my radar tuned in right.
Some of the options hew closely to the classics, with bacon or sausage made from chicken or turkey:
- Energy Breakfast Sandwich (Energy Kitchen) uses five egg whites with low-fat American cheese and turkey bacon on a honey whole-wheat English muffin.
- Power Panini Thin with Chicken Apple Sausage (Corner Bakery) is made with scrambled eggs or egg whites, chicken apple sausage, and Parmesan and Cheddar cheeses on thinly sliced whole-grain harvest toast.
- Santa Fe Egg Wrap (Einstein Bros Bagels) includes eggs, turkey sausage with ancho lime salsa, jalapeño schmear and pepper jack cheese.
Others use the more familiar forms of the poultry:
- Power Wrap (First Watch) is made with fluffy egg whites, turkey, spinach, house-roasted crimini mushrooms and Swiss in a sun-dried tomato basil tortilla.
- 2 Egg & Cheddar Sandwich with Roasted Turkey (Au Bon Pain) has a self-explanatory name and is served on a choice of breads.
- Breakfast Burrito with Chicken (Qdoba) is a flour or whole-wheat tortilla filled with grilled chicken, eggs, potatoes, choice of sauces and salsas, and optional shredded cheese or sour cream.
Did you note something in common in all those descriptions? Each one of them includes eggs!
Now I know what you’re thinking: this is a blog for the American Egg Board, so of course those items all include eggs. But foodservice operators are pretty savvy about the American consumer and they don’t include eggs just for fun. Eggs are a tasty, nutrient dense protein and just happen to be delicious.
Oh, by the way, are there eggs on the breakfast sandwiches you normally order? Uh huh. I thought so.
For more, visit www.AEB.org