The National Restaurant Association released its “What’s Hot in 2015” survey Wednesday. The NRA surveyed 1,276 professional chefs - members of the American Culinary Federation, having them rank 231 items as potential menu trends in 2015. The ratings include “hot trend,” “yesterday’s news” and “perennial favorite."
Consumers’ dining habits in restaurants may be a good indicator as to how certain foods will perform in the industry – take a look below for some highlights from the survey:
It looks like the “local” trend isn’t going away anytime soon. Among the top 20 food trends, locally sourced meats and seafood is No. 1, followed right behind by locally grown produce. Hyperlocal sourcing comes in at No. 7. Locally sourced items have been in the top 20 trends since 2009.
Among alcoholic beverages, locally produced beer/wine/spirits comes in at No. 2. In dessert trends, house-made/artisan ice cream topped the list. As for culinary themes, hyperlocal sourcing fit in the middle at No. 3.
Movers and Shakers
In the survey’s “Movers and Shakers” category, it compared items from 2014 to 2015. Both doughnuts and underutilized fish (no, not to be eaten together) inched up 12%. Grass-fed beef surged 9%.
On the flip side, kale salads and bruschetta each dipped 10%, while natural sweeteners fell 5%.
These don’t come as much of a surprise. Barbecue, French toast, and comfort foods are some notable items on this list.
These items are old news according to the survey. Insects are No. 1, with 74% placing it as “yesterday’s news,” among others, including, bacon-flavored/covered chocolate, popovers, flavored/enhanced water, and tater tots. As Food Dive has noted before, it is difficult to persuade American consumers to eat bugs.
10 years from now
Looking ahead 10 years, 42% said environmental sustainability will be the hottest menu trend 10 years from now, followed by local sourcing at 22%. Gluten-free cuisine was also on that list, trailing at 6%. Gluten-free items continue to be a hot topic in the food industry space. Glanbia Foods recently launched an oats-only producing plant in Ireland, and LUNA announced earlier this week all its products will now be gluten-free.
This is all despite gluten-free cuisine dropping 7% in the “Movers and Shakers” category from 2014 to 2015. Perhaps while 2015 may not necessarily be the year of gluten-free in restaurants, some time down the line it will be if the rest of the industry continues to embrace it.