(BPT) – Each year the restaurant industry is full of vibrant change. To better understand what is trending on restaurant menus in 2015, the National Restaurant Association surveyed professional chefs of the American Culinary Federation to get their insight into what food, cuisines, beverages and culinary themes will be hot in 2015.
Here are their top 10.
1. Locally sourced meats and seafood
‘Local’ continues to dominate the industry as 2014’s top trend repeats in 2015 – especially when it comes to proteins: pork, poultry, beef, fish, shellfish, you name it. Expect this trend to stay strong throughout the year and into next year as well.
2. Locally grown produce
Runner-up for the second year in a row, locally grown produce has been near the top for years. Consumers are more and more interested in where their food is coming from, so it’s not surprising this trend is near the forefront once again.
3. Environmental sustainability
Taste is just one of many factors to consider in today’s restaurant industry. Contemporary consumers are more eco-conscious than ever before and this mindset applies to their restaurant choices as well. In fact, 55 percent of restaurant goers say they’re more likely to pick a restaurant that offers eco-friendly fare.
4. Healthful kids’ meals
As Americans continue to put increased focus on health and nutrition, more emphasis is being placed on what people eat at a young age. The National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell program can help children and their parents make healthful choices at more than 150 participating restaurant brands and 42,000 locations across the country.
5. Natural ingredients/minimally processed food
An off-shoot of the popularity of local sourcing, many of today’s top chefs are opting to let their ingredients shine in their natural state, showcasing flavors delectable to their guest.
6. New cuts of meat
Sirloin cap, teres major and tri-tip may not be household names like T-bone, porterhouse or rib-eye, but you can expect these new cuts of meat to gain in trendiness throughout 2015.
7. Hyper-local sourcing
This goes beyond buying fresh produce at the local farmers market. Some restaurants are actually creating their own gardens on the restaurant property, ensuring that freshness remains just a few feet away. Many restaurants are also adding their own house-made food and drinks to menus, showing that it doesn’t get more local than their own kitchens.
8. Sustainable seafood
The sustainable seafood movement that began in the 1990s has lost none of its vitality. This trend is likely to stay strong in the years ahead as well.
9. Food waste reduction/management
Food waste is the third largest stream of waste in the United States. As the entire country seeks to reduce its carbon footprint, the restaurant industry is following suit. The National Restaurant Association’s Conserve program is a resource for owners, operators, chefs, employees and their guests, and it allows them all to explore and learn about food waste reduction in the restaurant business.
10. Farm/estate-branded items
Vineyards have produced wine under their own estate names for generations, and more farms are now starting to produce their own branded produce, meats and herbs, too. This allows chefs to offer new, popular and recognizable brands to their guests.