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20 Hot Food Trends for 2013

December 19th, 2012 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

What are the hot food trends restaurant and bar owners, food service entrepreneurs and food manufacturers should know about for 2013? The National Restaurant Association recently released its What’s Hot in 2013 menu trends report.

The top 20 food menu trends for 2013 are:

  1. Locally sourced meats and seafood
  2. Locally grown produce
  3. Healthful kids’ meals
  4. Environmental sustainability as a culinary theme
  5. Children’s nutrition as a culinary theme
  6. New cuts of meat (e.g. Denver steak, pork flat iron, teres major)
  7. Hyperlocal sourcing (e.g. restaurant gardens)
  8. Gluten-free cuisine
  9. Sustainable seafood
  10. Whole grain items in kids’ meals
  11. Farm/estate branded items
  12. Non-wheat noodles/pasta (e.g. quinoa, rice, buckwheat)
  13. Non-traditional fish (e.g. branzino, Arctic char, barramundi)
  14. Ethnic-inspired breakfast items (e.g. Chorizo scrambled eggs, coconut milk pancakes)
  15. Fruit/vegetable children’s side items
  16. Health/nutrition as a culinary theme
  17. Half-portions/smaller portions for a smaller price
  18. House-made/artisan ice cream
  19. Black/forbidden rice
  20. Food trucks

While many of these trends are continuing on from 2012, some 2012 trends have had their day. What did the chefs in the survey rank as “out”? Froth/air/foam, ramen, gazpacho, “fun-shaped” children’s items, mini-burgers/sliders, flavored/enhanced water, bacon-flavored chocolate, flavored popcorn, fish collars and desserts with bacon were cited as “waning trends.”

Meanwhile, some food items are always popular no matter what the trends may be. The dishes chefs named as perennial favorites are: Italian cuisine, hamburgers/cheeseburgers, egg dishes, French toast, barbeque, fruit desserts (cobbler, pie, tart), comfort foods, grilling, milkshakes and Mexican food.

Of course, not all food trends involve edibles. More than one-fourth (27 percent) of the chefs say tablet computers are the hottest technology trend in restaurants, with smartphone apps (25 percent) and mobile/wireless/pay-at-the-table (19 percent) close behind.

Image by Flickr user ultrakmi (Creative Commons)


The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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