• NRA
    NRA We Serve America's Restaurants Representing nearly 500,000 restaurant businesses, we advocate for restaurant and foodservice industry interests and provide tools and systems that help members of all sizes achieve success.
  • NRAEF
    NRAEF Building & Retaining Talent The NRAEF is focused on developing a stronger workforce and building the next generation of industry leaders through education, scholarships and community engagement.
  • NRA Show
    NRA Show May 19-22, 2018 As the international foodservice marketplace, the NRA Show provides unparalleled opportunities for buyers and sellers to come together, conduct business and learn from each other.
  • ServSafe
    ServSafe Minimize Risk. Maximize Protection. For over 40 years, ServSafe® training programs have delivered the knowledge, leadership and protection that have earned the trust and confidence of business leaders everywhere.

National Restaurant Association - 5 food trends to put on your menu

Skip to navigation Skip to content

News & Research

Share:
Email Print
News RSS

5 food trends to put on your menu



Plant-based protein alternatives to beef burgers, like this one, are rising in popularity.

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, dietitian Marie Molde said during our recent dining trends webinar.

The webinar, called “The New Healthy Healthy,” showcased popular menu trends. Molde, who works for food marketing research firm Datassential, said anything “healthy” is popular. 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



A chia pudding cup with fresh berries

Veggies, fruits, nuts, beans and legumes top the foods perceived as healthy, Molde said. 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, and Jamba Juice launched a Chia-turmeric Passion Pudding Cup this year as well.

Alternative milks and nut butters



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

Molde said there’s been 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, Molde said. In 2017, Au Bon Pain introduced its Signature Farmhouse Omelet sandwich on toasted sprouted grain bread and Starbucks started offering a sprouted grain vegan bagel.

Sustainable foods



Rubio's recently put fish taco made with sustainable salmon on its menu

Seafood and coffee are the two categories of sustainable foods being marketed most on chain menus now, according to Molde. Rubio’s recently did a salmon taco limited time offer using sustainable salmon and McDonald’s offers sustainable coffee and espresso drinks. “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.

Download the full webinar presentation

 

Conserve RSS Healthcare RSS Conserve RSS

▲ Back to Top

New report

Spot Ad right

We're glad you're here!®

® 2012-2017 National Restaurant Association. All rights reserved.

2055 L St. NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036
(202) 331-5900 | (800) 424-5156