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Eating out: Whats Hot?

In the restaurant industry, sitting still means getting left behind. Today’s savvy restauranteur has to keep her finger on the culinary pulse of her customers, or risk lose her share of the $799 billion diners will spend eating out in 2017. The National Restaurant Association recently polled the 1300-member American Culinary Federation to find out what’s hot in the food industry, and what’s not. Here are some of the national trends on American menus.

  1. Greater emphasis on ‘House-Made’ items, including condiments, pickles, charcuterie and ice cream.
  2. Shift toward concept-based ideas from ingredient-based items. According to Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President of Research for the National Restaurant Association, shift mirrors “how consumers tend to adapt their activities to their overall lifestyle philosophies.”
  3. Consumer desire for hyper-local food sourcing, natural ingredients, and simple, clean, nutritious items on the menu.
  4. Desserts are trending toward savory flavors, smoked ingredients, mini-sizes and donuts with non-traditional fillings.
  5. Ancient grains are making a comeback as all things ‘gluten’ take a hit.

Things that are on the downward trend include; quinoa, vegan cuisine, grass-fed beef and gelato.

“Chefs are on an endless quest to redefine how consumers eat,” says Thomas Macrina, national president of the American Culinary Federation. “By masterfully transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary, culinary professionals are at the forefront of changing the culinary landscape.”

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