The National Restaurant Association (NRA) each year prepares its 'What's Hot' culinary forecast of menu trends for the coming year.
By Annika Stensson
The NRA surveyed more than 1,800 professional chefs – members of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) – to find that children's nutrition and local sourcing will continue to be the hottest trends on restaurant menus in 2013.
"It is encouraging to see that children's nutrition remains a top priority for chefs and that they continue to put their creativity in healthful kids meals to work on restaurant menus," said Joy Dubost, Ph.D, R.D., director of Nutrition & Healthy Living for the National Restaurant Association.
"We have seen an increasing interest in health and nutrition among consumers over the last several years, and that interest is also extended to children's menus, which has helped make our Kids LiveWell program so successful."
"I am pleased that members of the American Culinary Federation, who took part in the survey, continue to make children's nutrition a top priority for 2013. Many ACF members are heavily involved in this effort all across the U.S., both in community programs and with Chefs Move to Schools," said Michael Ty, CEC, AAC, ACF national president.
"Making sure that nutritious food is available for children and their families, and for everyone in the U.S., is paramount to the future of foodservice. An emphasis on local sourcing can only further that effort, as chefs revise menus to better serve their customers while dealing with the increased cost of ingredients."
This year, the NRA also surveyed nearly 200 professional bartenders – members of the United States Bartenders' Guild (USBG) – revealing that onsite barrel-aged drinks, food-liquor pairings, and culinary cocktails will be the hottest trends on restaurant drink menus in 2013.
"Artisan products, local sourcing and culinary creativity are trendy on restaurant menus and our new research shows that to also be true behind the bar," said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research and knowledge for the National Restaurant Association.
"Increasing recognition of mixology has elevated restaurant drink menus to a new level that allows bartenders to showcase their skills in blending textures and flavors similarly to how chefs approach food in the kitchen. This is good news for today's increasingly sophisticated and adventurous consumers, who have a wider variety of alcoholic beverages from which to choose when dining out."
"It was great to work with the National Restaurant Association on this project," said David Nepove, USBG national president.
"How wonderful that a survey about cocktails was the result of key bartenders from across the country, as they are the individuals who are setting many of these trends and see them in action every day. The top trends have not only proven popular with guests, but also allow bartenders to use their creative and professional talents in flavor-making, giving full justice to the craft of mixology."
The NRA surveyed 1,834 American Culinary Federation member chefs and 195 United States Bartenders' Guild member bartenders in October and November 2012, asking them to rate items as a "hot trend," "yesterday's news," or "perennial favorite" on menus in 2013.
For details, visit www.Restaurant.org/FoodTrends