5 Food Trends To Put On Your Menu

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Do you know what consumers want to eat? If you guessed plant-based protein, alternative milks and nut butters, sustainable foods or sprouted grains, you’re on the money.

A webinar, called “The New Healthy Healthy,” showcased popular menu trends. Here’s what doesn’t attract as much interest anymore:

  • Low calorie
  • Low fat
  • Low carb
  • Cholesterol free foods

Two-thirds of consumers say what they eat and drink is important to them. It tops personal fulfillment and ranks ahead of career fulfillment, spirituality and religion. And when it comes to making food choices, consumers are about overall longevity, sustained energy and mental sharpness.

Datassential research illustrates five big trends:

Plant-based foods

Veggies, fruits, nuts, beans and legumes top the foods perceived as healthy. In addition, plant-based protein alternatives to beef burgers are on the rise.

One in five U.S. consumers say they’re looking to limit red meat in their diets. Items like black-bean and quinoa patties, falafel and chick peas, are experiencing huge growth. Chia is popular, too. It’s used in baked goods, like muffins, breads and cakes.

Alternative milks and nut butters

Alternative milks, made from items such as nuts, are gaining in popularity

There’s been a 30-percent growth in “cow-nterfit” non-dairy milks in the last four years. One in 10 menus across America has alternative milks, made with ingredients like soy or nuts, on it.

As far as alternative nut butters go, they’re everywhere. “The popularity of almond butter has increased 121 percent; cashew butter, 998 percent; and pistachio butter, 348 percent. Also, almond butter in smoothies, cookies and baked goods is prolific.

Sprouted grains

Sprouted grains are becoming more mainstream on menus today

We’re seeing a shift toward sprouted grains, which straddle the line between a seed and a plant and offer a host of health benefits.

Sustainable foods

Seafood and coffee are the two categories of sustainable foods being marketed most on chain menus now. It’s interesting to think about where else we might see this continue within the chain realm because we know it’s not an easy thing for the big operators to achieve.

What other trends are on the rise? For starters, there’s gluten-free and vegan/vegetarian options to focus on. And don’t forget about algae. That’s right. Spirulina, known to fight disease and cancer, is showing up in beverages, smoothies and parfait bowls.

Source:  nationalrestaurantassociation; 6-13-2017

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