THE NEWS: The annual National Restaurant Association survey of 1,800 American Culinary Federation chefs ranked trends for 2010 in food and beverage items, preparation methods and culinary themes. The Top 10 dining trends are: locally grown produce; locally sourced meats and seafood; sustainability; mini-desserts; locally produced wine and beer; nutritious kids’ meals; half-portions/smaller portions for a smaller price; farm-branded ingredients; gluten-free/food-allergy conscious meals; and sustainable seafood. Top beverage trends include culinary cocktails; artisan liquor; organic beer/wine/spirits; food-beer pairings; and gluten-free beer. Environmentally friendly equipment was the top kitchen equipment trend, and restaurants with gardens was noted as the hot dining concept in 2010.
WHAT IT MEANS: The survey’s result indicates some exciting possibilities but the single most influential trend in the next year is strangely missing: the economy. Its impact on consumer spending will continue until at least 2011, and offering inexpensive options and simply surviving are the trends that will matter most to restaurateurs.
(For more food trend figures: Eat In, Eat Out: a new business-to-business white paper on food, dining and beverage industry trends for 2010 and beyond. http://www.americanforecaster.com.)