Locally sourced meat, seafood, and produce is expected to be the top continuing culinary trend in 2015, according to a survey of chefs done by the National Restaurant Association.
The NRA recently released their “What’s Hot in 2015” Culinary Forecast where they surveyed over 1,300 chefs. The survey allows restaurant owners to examine what was popular over the past year and predicts what the most popular trends will be moving forward.
Overall, the top four hot trends remain the same from the 2014 edition: locally sourced meats and seafood, locally grown produce, environmental sustainability, and healthier kid’s menus. Gluten free items, which rounded out the top five last year, fell to 16th place, and was replaced by foods with natural ingredients and minimal processing in the most recent survey.
In addition, to listing cooking trends, the survey also allowed chefs to respond to the changing challenges they face. 34 percent of operators called rising food costs their top challenge, an increase from just 18 percent last year. This is a large change from the pre-recession surveys, when labor recruitment and retention was usually listed as the biggest challenge.
A number of popular trends saw large gains among chefs over the past year, including doughnuts, grass-fed beef, ethnic condiments, grilled vegetables, using brown or wild rice, and free-range pork/poultry. While a number of trends declined in popularity, including hybrid desserts, housemade soft drinks, gluten-free cuisine, Greek yogurt, and milkshakes.
In beverage trends, the micro-distilled/artisan spirits, followed by locally produced beer, wine, and spirits were favored in terms of alcoholic beverages. While, gourmet lemonades and specialty iced teas were the favorite among non-alcoholic beverages.
Moving towards the future, environmental sustainability, local sourcing of ingredients, nutrition, ethnic cuisines and flavors, and gluten-free foods were predicted to be the most popular ten years from now.