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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 Quick Look at 2019’s Flavor Trends

A Quick Look at 2019's Flavor Trends

What flavors are people looking for in 2019? And who are the people looking for them? Let's take a closer look.

Thanks to the great research done by our friends at Foodable Labs, we have data compiled from nearly one million social media conversations between chefs, operators, brands, and influencers.

Based on these conversations, Foodable Labs was able to determine the top flavor profiles and cuisines of 2019, and because we love trends so much here at Lakeside, we wanted to break down those flavor trends for you here.

ASIAN FOODS ARE STILL POPULAR.

Over the last few years, we've seen a rise in popularity of Asian foods, especially the foods of Korea and the Philippines. In terms of flavors, options like hoisin sauce, garlic, ginger, and chili sauce are leading the way. And when they looked at menus, Foodable Labs found an increase in these flavors at a rate of 31.3 percent for independent restaurants and 29.5 percent in fast-casual operations.

SPEAKING OF HOT, IT'S HOT.

According to Foodable Labs, the jalapeño has been replaced by the habanero as the most popular pepper, with an increase on menus of more than 20 percent. "Hot" isn't just limited to the Scoville scale. It can also include different types of "heat" such as the type of sinus-clearing burn associated with horseradish, which is also gaining in popularity.

WHAT ABOUT A SWEET TOOTH?

Looking for something sweet? According to the report, we're craving sweets more now than ever. When it comes to true natural flavors, trends lean towards fruits such as mango, passion fruit and avocado (and yes, avocado is a fruit). As far as desserts go, salted caramel led the way, with other popular dishes including chocolate-topped items and anything with hot fudge.

PEOPLE LOVE PLANTS.

Consumers are looking for more plant-based menu options. There was a 23.5 percent increase in plant-based menu consumption in Millennials and a 21.9 percent increase in consumers between the ages of 45 and 55. These are the highest growing menu considerations amongst the main menu sectors.

Foodable Labs' plant-based menu statistics confirm our research as well. As part of our 2019 College and University Foodservice Trends Report, we detailed a consumer shift to plant-based foods out of a desire to reduce traditional meat consumption. Flavor innovations are feeding a rising flexitarian population, and consumers are now more responsible in their eating habits (from both a personal health and environmentally sustainability standpoint) by choosing plant-based proteins.

 

In our 2019 College and University Foodservice Trends Report, Lakeside dug deep and uncovered the 7 most popular trends we expect to see this year, most of which go beyond the flavor trends mentioned above. Check out these 2019 foodservice trends by downloading our free report.

Lakeside and Multiteria have researched seven top 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!