Top Ten Trends to Watch: Trends Five Through One

If you’re just tuning in to our 2014 restaurant industry forecast, you can catch up, by reading Part I, here.

5 New and Creative Food Hybrids

2013 saw the advent of the Cronut, the croissant/doughnut hybrid. 2014 will bring new and even more adventurous food hybrids. Some new hybrids may even add a little health to our usual fare. For example, FLIP Burger Boutique in Atlanta has added mushrooms to their burger meat and coined it earth and turf. Look for more innovative foods both in the drive-thru and at the table.

CC image courtesy of cumi&ciki (Flickr)
CC image courtesy of cumi&ciki (Flickr)

4 The Return of Carbs and the Introduction of High-End Comfort Foods

Carbs are making a comeback in new and unique forms. From the ramen rage to artisan breads, carbs are popping up around every corner. And while we’re on the subject of carbs, let’s talk comfort food, which is back and better than ever. Warm, creamy, artisan cheeses mixed with specialty pastas and high-fat and flavor elements, such as artisanal bacon. This isn’t your mother’s macaroni and cheese.

3 The New Protein

New forms of protein will find their way to your plate this coming year. As beef costs rise, chicken and pork will take center stage in a variety of appetizing combinations. Chicken will no longer be boring as restaurants worldwide create inventive new chicken dishes. Also finding their way to the table: egg dishes, soy-based products, and a variety of other vegetarian alternatives.

2 Healthy Eating

Already a popular option with many consumers, the push for healthier fare will now include a variety of special diets which may have been passed over in past years. More gluten free menus will appear, as well as balanced children’s meals. No more dinosaur chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. Children’s meals will not only be healthier, but also cuter, as many restaurants copy Japanese kyaraben bento boxes (see image below).

CC image courtesy of D&S McSpadden (Flickr)
CC image courtesy of D&S McSpadden (Flickr)

Which leads us to the top trend to watch for 2014.

1 Eating Locally Sourced Foods

2014 will see a shift to locally-sourced foods as restaurant-goers demand more information about where their food comes from and how it’s grown or raised. Today’s consumer is more health savvy than ever, and also more curious than ever, about where their food comes from and how it’s prepared. Many restaurants already feature Farm to Fork fare, but expect to see this trend take off tenfold, from the lettuce on the salad bar to the cow in your burger.

Written by Teresa Glasgow, Technical Writing Specialist, Future POS, Inc.