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TEST – Top 10 Current Chef-Focused Trends – MKTO Lightbox

Top 10 Current Chef-Focused Trends

Each year, the National Restaurant Association conducts a survey to identify the hottest culinary trends.

This year's survey tells us in no uncertain terms that sustainability, hyper-locally sourced foods, plant-based foods, and vegetable-focused dishes are some of the nation's hottest food trends. Below, we've provided the NRA's top-10 list of current chef-focused trends which restaurants are following to meet customer demands for sustainability, nutrition, taste, and personal choice.

1. Cannabis/CBD oil-infused drinks

According to the "What's Hot Culinary Forecast," 77% of the American Culinary Federation chefs placed drinks infused with cannabis or CBD as the top trend. And it's anticipated that this trend will only become more popular in the future as more states legalize cannabis.

2. Cannabis/CBD oil-infused foods

For some time, cannabis-enhanced foods were limited to desserts. Now, however, chefs are experimenting with all sorts of healthy options across the menu, made from cannabis-infused ingredients such as honey, nuts, coffee, and all-natural teas.

3. Zero-waste cooking

Zero-waste cooking ranks as the third top trend overall for 2019. Each day, chefs are finding more ways to use all parts of a food product, particularly plant-based items. As the NRA reports, chefs are now using coffee grounds to flavor ice cream as a way of reducing food waste. They're even using cabbage butts in stir-fries, not letting even the smallest usable portion of a plant-based food go to waste.

4. Globally-inspired breakfast dishes 

Chefs are searching the world in person and on the internet to find inspiration for breakfast dishes. Rice, soup, vegetable-and-bean bowls (like the Hawaiian poke bowl, the traditional Latin American rice and beans, or Asian rice dishes), are becoming popular for breakfast. And not only are they high in nutrition, but they're always carefully prepared and made into a great presentation from to appeal to today's highly visual consumer.

5. Global flavors in kids' meals

Chefs are taking inspiration from spices and flavors from North, West, and East African cuisine, Latin America and Spain, and Asian countries to influence kids' meals. Turmeric, ginger, and Asian spices (particularly Korean and Filipino flavors) are showing up on children's menus.

6. Hyper-local food sources

Chefs are going as far as using plant-based foods that come right from the restaurant's own gardens. When that's not possible, they rely on local farmers' markets and other hyper-local food sources so that the farm-to-table connection is absolutely transparent to today's consumer.

7. New cuts of meat 

New cuts of meat such as shoulder tender, Merlot cut, or oyster-cut steak made the top trending spot for the last two years according to the NRA. These once "secret" cuts are now becoming more common, although the NRA notes that they are starting to drop in popularity this year as plant-based dishes continue to be on the rise.

8. Vegetable-centered dishes

In 2019, chefs don't believe that you have to be vegan or vegetarian to enjoy a good rice and bean dish made with an exquisite mixture of spices and visually appealing fresh vegetables. After trying some of these attractive and tasty vegetable-centric meals, many meat-eating customers will think about eating vegetarian at least a couple of times a week.

9. Fast-casual concepts

Fast-food chains are consulting some of the country's most renown chefs to come up with their hallmark non-meat feature. Burger King's Impossible Burger is one key example. In these carefully crafted dishes, you'll find global spices combined with plant-based foods in the form of veg burgers and salads, or meats prepared in innovative ways.

10. Craft beers, artisan, and locally produced spirits

Craft and artisan alcoholic beverages that are produced locally have been the rage for some time, and continue to be popular in 2019. Chefs frequently have their own favorites, if not their own special house brew.

These are just a few of the new innovations which chefs are making available throughout the food service industry. For more information on what to look for in current chef-focused trends, as well as how to implement them in your foodservice operation, please schedule some time with a Lakeside representative.

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A Closer Look at the Food Hall Trend

A Closer Look at the Food Hall Trend

What are food halls, and why are they important? For starters, let's talk about what they are.

Food halls are kind of like a hybrid between a market and a food court. Designed with both shopping and dining in mind, they're generally more specialty-oriented than a typical supermarket and they offer more fast-casual options as opposed to full-service restaurants.

You've likely seen a food hall in your travels, even if you didn't know it was a food hall. Popularized by modern food hall pioneers like the Chelsea Market and Eataly in New York City, the trend quickly spread from coast to coast.

Technically, though, it began decades ago in places like Harrods of London, the Granville Island Public Market in Vancouver, and the famous Pike Place Market in Seattle. For Bostonians, they can lay claim to the Quincy Market, which has hosted food merchants since 1742.

Today, though, the combination of food and retail are experiencing a rebirth. Not only are malls re-inventing themselves, but according to a report from Jones Lang LaSalle, 40 percent of all consumers will visit a mall-type location based solely on the restaurants located there. Cue the food hall, and call the real estate developers.

"Food halls are not a fad," says a 2018 report by developers Cushman & Wakefield. "Food halls are the sharing economy for restaurants."

In their report, they predicted nearly 200 food halls in operation by the beginning of this year. In real estate-driven places like Boulder, Colorado, for example, restaurants are even turning into food halls. What happens when an enormous, 13,000-square-foot Cheesecake Factory closes in a prime, downtown location? Developers plan to turn it into a food hall.

The bottom line, though, is rooted in philosophy. Yes, people will always need to eat. Yes, people will always need to shop. But what's brilliant about the food hall concept is that it plays on another human need which is one of interaction and experience.

Food halls, in just a few short years, have become a deeply loved and entrenched part of our collective foodservice landscape. Food, after all, is something that brings us together in our daily search for interaction and experience and operators are more numerous in this recognition.

Food halls are an emerging foodservice trend that colleges and universities can't ignore.

There are some immediate advantages with a food hall concept.  With less overhead and built-in foot traffic associated with food halls, colleges and universities can promote a lower barrier of entry when courting outside foodservice entrepreneurs to partner with.  Moreover, students have grown up with "marketplace food halls" and desire this experience on campus too.

Discover 7 other foodservice trends in our free 2019 College and University Foodservice Trends Report.

Lakeside and Multiteria have researched seven other trends that will be important to colleges and universities in the 2019-2020 school year.  Download your free copy today to stay on top of the latest ideas and innovations that will help you maintain a first-class foodservice operation!

 


Attend a brief 30 min. mini-webinar on the "7 Top Trends in C&U Foodservice!"

Join Nancy Lane on Sept. 19th for this quick, jam-packed webinar - 20 mins. content with 10 mins. Q&A.  The seven trends include:

  1. Sustainability
  2. Plant-Forward
  3. Labor Efficiencies
  4. Transparency
  5. New Normal
  6. Food Insecurity
  7. Infusing Digital

Click below and sign up today!