The National Restaurant Association releases its annual survey of 700 professional chefs – members of the American Culinary Federation – to predict food and beverage trends at restaurants in the coming year. The annual “What’s Hot” list gives a peak into which food, beverages and culinary concepts will be the new items on restaurant menus that everyone is talking about in 2018.
According to the survey, menu trends that will be heating up in 2018 include doughnuts with non-traditional filling, ethnic-inspired kids’ dishes, farm/estate-branded items, and heritage-breed meats. Trends that are cooling down include artisan cheeses, heirloom fruits and vegetables, and house-made charcuterie.
TOP 20 FOOD TRENDS
- New cuts of meat (e.g. shoulder tender, oyster steak, Vegas Strip Steak, Merlot cut)
- House-made condiments
- Street food-inspired dishes (e.g. tempura, kabobs, dumplings, pupusas)
- Ethnic-inspired breakfast items (e.g. chorizo scrambled eggs, coconut milk pancakes)
- Sustainable seafood
- Healthful kids’ meals
- Vegetable carb substitutes (e.g. cauliflower rice, zucchini spaghetti)
- Uncommon herbs (e.g. chervil, lovage, lemon balm, papalo)
- Authentic ethnic cuisine
- Ethnic spices (e.g. harissa, curry, peri peri, ras el hanout, shichimi)
- Peruvian cuisine
- House-made/artisan pickles
- Heritage-breed meats
- Thai-rolled ice cream
- African flavors
- Ethnic-inspired kids’ dishes (e.g. tacos, teriyaki, sushi)
- Donuts with non-traditional filling (e.g. liqueur, Earl Grey cream)
- Gourmet items in kids’ meals
- Ethnic condiments (e.g. sriracha, sambal, chimichurri, gochujang, zhug)
- Ancient grains (e.g. kamut, spelt, amaranth, lupin)
TOP 10 CONCEPT TRENDS
- Hyper-local (e.g. restaurant gardens, onsite beer brewing, house-made items
- Chef-driven fast casual concepts
- Natural ingredients/clean menus
- Food waste reduction
- Veggie-centric/vegetable-forward cuisine (e.g. fresh produce is star of the dish)
- Environmental sustainability
- Locally sourced meat and seafood
- Locally sourced produce
- Simplicity/back to basics
- Farm/estate-branded items
“Local, vegetable-forward, and ethnic-inspired menu items will reign supreme in the upcoming year. Guests are implementing these trends in their own lifestyles and want to see them reflected on restaurant menus. In response, chefs are creating more items in-house and turning to global flavors,” said Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President of Research at the National Restaurant Association.
“Chefs strive to strike the right balance between offering consumers what they want to eat now and guiding them toward new and exciting culinary frontiers,”said ACF National President Stafford T. DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC. “ACF chefs dedicate countless hours to continuing education and professional development to stay at the forefront of culinary innovation, allowing them to respond to and redefine diners’ expectations in an ever-changing foodservice landscape.”
The National Restaurant Association surveyed 700 American Culinary Federation members in October – November 2017, asking them to rate 161 items as a “hot trend,” “yesterday’s news,” or “perennial favorite” on menus in 2018.
For complete survey results, additional trends to watch, video and downloadable graphics, visit www.restaurant.org/foodtrends.
About the National Restaurant Association
Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of more than 14.7 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We operate the industry’s largest trade show (NRA Show May 19-22, 2018, in Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF’s ProStart). For more information, visit Restaurant.org and find us on Twitter @WeRRestaurants, Facebook and YouTube.
About the American Culinary Foundation
The American Culinary Federation Inc., established in 1929, is the standard of excellence for chefs in North America. With more than 17,500 members spanning more than 150 chapters nationwide, ACF is the leading culinary association offering educational resources, training, apprenticeship and programmatic accreditation. In addition, ACF operates the most comprehensive certification program for chefs in the United States, with the Certified Executive Chef®, Certified Sous Chef®, Certified Executive Pastry Chef® and Certified Culinary Educator® designations accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. The American Culinary Federation Education Foundation is home to ACF Culinary Team USA, the official representative for the United States in major international culinary competitions. For more information, visit www.acfchefs.org. Find ACF on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.