Chefs Say LOCAL is Top Restaurant Trend for 2015

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.