We are almost two weeks into the year and the 2017 food trends are well underway. Last year’s trends, courtesy of the National Restaurant Association, included locally sourced food, fast casual concepts and natural food. So far, 2017 is heading down a very similar track. The National Restaurant Association, Food Business News, Flavor and the Menu and Innova Market Insights all provide a great outlook on the top restaurant trends for 2017. Four trends stick out as front-runners, including clean eating, vegetable main dishes, ethnic cuisines and waste reduction. Running through the month of January, we will run a “Trendy Tuesday” segment, highlighting each of these trends in further detail. Below you will find a brief low-down on these top trends, along with others that made the lists.
2017 Food Trends- Clean Eating
Innova Market Insights states that 2017 is the year of “clean supreme”. Very similar to last year’s natural food trend, clean eating has swept the nation. This concept takes many growing trends, combining them into one large concept. Customers now look for organic and non-processed menu options, with ingredients they consider healthy. According to Flavor and the Menu, consumers want honesty and quality ingredients and will pay more for total transparency. While consumers keep healthy eating in mind, splurging is not out of question either. Using quality ingredients and highlighting key flavors will give customers the transparency they request when ordering splurge-worthy dishes.
As the healthy eating craze gains ground, vegetables continue to grow in popularity. Chefs work hard to create savory vegetable dishes that even the biggest meat lover would love. Food Business News states that adding beet juice to a veggie burger will make it look juicy and appetizing to all. Subbing vegetables for carbs is also a common practice among restaurants. For example, cauliflower crust and zucchini pasta often take the place of their wheat counterparts. Large salad bowls have become a main dish in many restaurants as well. Adding protein, nuts and legumes make an ordinary salad extraordinary and customers are flocking to the salad menu.
While ethnic cuisines have been on the rise for a few years, customers are now requesting authentic ethnic flavors. The most common ethnic flavors include Korean, Middle Eastern and Latin American cuisine. Korean has been in the market for a few years with popular dishes like as bibimbop and Korean barbecue. According to the National Restaurant Association, Latin American authenticity is also gaining headway in the United States. The most popular ethnic cuisine to hit the market in 2017 is Middle Eastern food. The Food Business News says as migrants from Middle Eastern countries move to the United States, they bring their flavors along with them. Turmeric and Middle Eastern breakfasts are now extremely popular in the current market.
This year, restaurants will put a focus on reducing waste. This can take form in more appropriate portion sizes, creatively using “throw away” foods in dishes, or recycling instead. More restaurants are also donating any food leftover in the kitchen to food banks and soup kitchens. The National Restaurant Association has teamed up with the Food Waste Reduction Alliance to solve this problem as well. According to the National Restaurant Association, food waste costed restaurants $390 per person. Many initiatives are currently underway to reduce wasted food across the nation.
2017 Food Trends- Other Popular Trends
Other trends are set to hit the market in 2017 and restaurants should keep an eye out for customers craving these foods. When broken down from concepts, the National Restaurant Association states that new cuts of meat are the biggest trend of 2017. The Food Business News predicts goat as a new fan favorite in the restaurant business. Breakfast trends are common as well, including all-day breakfast, ethnic breakfasts and sweet breakfasts. Innova Market Insights predicts that chocolate will soon occur on breakfast menus everywhere. To drink, mocktails have hit the market, as consumers search for creative, non-alcoholic drinks outside of soda. Customers now love house-made juices and teas mixed with muddled herbs.
As the New Year rolls around, restaurants must keep in mind current trends to stay popular with consumers. Many sources have spent time and research looking into trends to help the food business stay current. Whether emphasizing healthy eating, reducing waste or breakfast cuisines, customers love eating the latest and greatest food trends. To learn more about the 2017 food trends, please visit the National Restaurant Association’s website.