Chefs Say LOCAL is Top Restaurant Trend for 2015

by | 3 minute read

The Nation­al Restau­rant Asso­ci­a­tion each year gets in the kitchen with chefs to reveal the top menu trends for the com­ing year. For its annu­al What‰Ûªs Hot Culi­nary Fore­cast, the NRA sur­veyed near­ly 1,300 pro­fes­sion­al chefs to find which foods, cuisines, bev­er­ages and culi­nary themes will be hot trends on restau­rant menus in 2015. Local­ly sourced ingre­di­ents top the list again.

Top 10 food trends for 2015:

  1. Local­ly sourced meats and seafood
  2. Local­ly grown pro­duce
  3. Envi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­i­ty
  4. Health­ful kids' meals
  5. Nat­ur­al ingredients/minimally processed food
  6. New cuts of meat
  7. Hyper-local sourc­ing
  8. Sus­tain­able seafood
  9. Food waste reduction/management
  10. Farm/estate-branded items

"As con­sumers today increas­ing­ly incor­po­rate restau­rants into their dai­ly lives, they want to be able to fol­low their per­son­al pref­er­ences and philoso­phies no mat­ter where or how they choose to dine,‰Û said Hud­son Riehle, senior vice pres­i­dent of research for the Nation­al Restau­rant Asso­ci­a­tion. ‰ÛÏSo, it‰Ûªs only nat­ur­al that culi­nary themes like local sourc­ing, sus­tain­abil­i­ty and nutri­tion top our list of menu trends for 2015. Those con­cepts are wider lifestyle choic­es for many Amer­i­cans in oth­er aspects of their lives that also trans­late into the food space."

Chefs are com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing their com­mu­ni­ties and help­ing make respon­si­ble food choices,‰Û said Thomas Mac­rina, CEC, CCA, AAC, nation­al pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can Culi­nary Fed­er­a­tion. ‰ÛÏI am pleased that mem­bers of the Amer­i­can Culi­nary Fed­er­a­tion con­tin­ue to sup­port local sourc­ing and sus­tain­able food prac­tices as an annu­al trend and are paving the way for these val­ues to become part of every­day Amer­i­can cook­ing."

For the first time, the What‰Ûªs Hot sur­vey high­lights over­ar­ch­ing trends to watch in 2015:

  • Envi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­i­ty remains among the hottest trends, with restau­ra­teurs focus­ing on food waste reduc­tion as a way to both go green and man­age ris­ing food costs.
  • Hyper-local sourc­ing con­tin­ues to gain momen­tum with restau­rants includ­ing house-made, farm-branded and arti­san items.
  • Children‰Ûªs meals are becom­ing increas­ing­ly gourmet and health­ful, as well as more adven­tur­ous in fla­vor pro­files.
  • Eth­nic cuisines are con­tin­u­ing to become more main­stream and eth­nic ingre­di­ents such as cheeses, flour and condi­ments are increas­ing­ly being used in non-ethnic dish­es.
  • Com­mon prepa­ra­tion meth­ods are return­ing with a new twist, such as pick­ling with spe­cial­ty vine­gars and fer­ment­ed fla­vor pro­files.

When asked which cur­rent food trend will be the hottest menu trends 10 years from now, envi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­i­ty topped the list, fol­lowed by local sourc­ing, nutri­tion and eth­nic cuisines and fla­vors. The NRA sur­veyed 1,276 Amer­i­can Culi­nary Fed­er­a­tion mem­bers October-November 2014, ask­ing them to rate 231 items as a ‰ÛÏhot trend,‰Û ‰ÛÏyesterday‰Ûªs news,‰Û or ‰ÛÏperen­ni­al favorite‰Û on menus in 2015.

Audi­enceS­CAN sur­vey results report 58% of Amer­i­cans pre­fer to buy from a local­ly owned busi­ness. Know­ing that restau­rants use pro­duce, baked goods, meats and oth­er ingre­di­ents from local ven­dors and farms falls right into the line of think­ing these folks share: Shop Local.

Local shop­pers (28.6%) have chil­dren aged 0–9 back at home. Most of them (68.5%) are home­own­ers. Farm­ers and city folk unite for this cause: 29% of local-first shop­pers are from rur­al areas, and anoth­er 25% are from city streets.

16% vis­it­ed a win­ery or vine­yard in the past 12 months. 12% cel­e­brat­ed St. Patrick's Day at a restau­rant or bar. And 13.5% pur­chased and used a dai­ly deal vouch­er for a busi­ness they had nev­er used/shopped at pre­vi­ous­ly.

Audi­enceS­CAN data is avail­able as part of a sub­scrip­tion to AdMall for Agen­cies. Media com­pa­nies can access Audi­enceS­CAN data through the Audi­ence Intel­li­gence Reports inåÊAdMall.

Courtney Huckabay
Court­ney is the Edi­tor for Sales­Fu­el Today. She ana­lyzes sec­ondary cus­tomer research and our pri­ma­ry Audi­enceS­CAN research. Court­ney is a grad­u­ate of Mid­dle Ten­nessee State Uni­ver­si­ty.