Menu Predictions for 2014
Each yeah the National Restaurant Association (NRA) surveys Professional chefs to see what they predict to be the hottest menu trends for the following year. The food industry is always introducing us to something new and different. It is important for restaurants’ menus to change a little each year by adding a new item or creating new cooking methods. This keeps a restaurant exciting and trendy. It is important, however, to not change everything on the menu when the restaurants are doing well as it is. Your customers are coming back for a reason, so don’t disappoint them by taking that reason away.
After surveying 1,300 members of the American Culinary Federation, the NRA came to many great conclusions. For the top 20 food trends of 2014, they’ve decided that the most likely trends for the year, from highest probability to lowest probability include the following; Locally sourced meats and seafood will become more abundant and necessary in restaurants, as well as local produce, environmental sustainability, healthy kid’s menus, gluten-free food items, local sourcing, children’s nutrition, pasta containing zero wheat, sustainable seafood and farm branded items. In addition, there would be a reduction of food waste and an increase in whole grain kid’s meal items, health and nutrition, new cuts of meat, ancient grains, ethnic inspired breakfast foods, snacking and sharing a meal as opposed to ordering and entire entrée and eating it yourself, non-traditional fish, fruits and vegetables as sides for kid’s meals and smaller portions all around.
Some of the trends that are predicted to be the hottest of 2014 have been consistently trending for the past 5 years. These trends are locally grown produce, healthful kid’s menus, gluten free food, sustainable seafood, health/nutrition, new cuts of meat, ancient grains, ethnic inspired breakfast items, non-traditional fish, and fruits and vegetables as kid’s menu sides. These trends have been apparent in restaurants all over the U.S., some more than others, depending on the location. Although many restaurants share the same steady movements, it rarely changes the diversity from one another. While there have been steadily growing trends within the past 5 years, there have also been steadily dropping trends. These trends include, but are not limited to gelato micro-greens, tapas, and bite sized desserts.
As time goes on, businesses grow, technology changes, and restaurants improve. The NRA states that 10 years from now the hottest menu trends will be environmental sustainability at 38%, health/nutrition at 22%, children’s nutrition at 10%, gluten free cuisine at 8% and everything else at 4%. 10 years may seem like a long time away, but think back to 10 years ago and chances are you won’t believe that was actually 10 years ago and that time has flown! With that said, I bet that 10 years ago we wouldn’t have imagined that the prediction for this year, 2014, restaurant technology would be so evident. The NRA predicts this year’s technology to be very heavy in restaurants with options such as having a tablet computer for menus and wine lists, having apps for menus, ordering, and the latest deals on food, apps for chefs and the restaurants such as recipes online and POS systems. Payments through mobile devices and the internet will also be more available and popular.
Restaurants are such a colossal aspect of the U.S. The NRA and the ACF have vital roles in predicting what is to come. In a sense, they’re the ones who make it happen as well. With food being such an important part of the lives of Americans, the food industry as a whole is continuously trying to step it up and better the health and wellness of the country through introducing more natural, organic foods and trying to cut back on the empty carbs and severely processed foods.