Sustainability and sustainable practices rank among the top culinary trends in the National Restaurant Association’s 2014 What’s Hot Culinary Forecast.
According to the forecast, which surveyed 1,300 professional chefs-members of the American Culinary Federation, three categories: environmental sustainability, locally sourced and grown ingredients, and food waste reduction practices ranked in the first 11 of Top 20 trends for 2014. They were:
1. Locally sourced meats and seafood
2. Locally grown produce
3. Environmental sustainability
6 Hyper-local sourcing (restaurant gardens)
9 Sustainable seafood
11. Nose-to-tail/root-to-stalk cooking (reducing food waste by using entire animal or plant)
For the last several years, sustainable trends have been gaining momentum among restaurant industry professionals and interest in the subject is expected to continue growing, said Laura Abshire, the NRA’s director of sustainability and government policy.
“It is heartening to see that increasing numbers of restaurants are embracing sustainability and implementing those practices at their operations,” she said. “Sustainably-minded chefs and restaurateurs are realizing they can be more efficient, save on utility costs and also increase their bottom lines. Not only that, they can increase their customer engagement, especially among millenials, who often demand the businesses they frequent reflect their own values. Practicing sustainability just makes fiscal and environmental sense.”
Thomas Macrina, the ACF’s national president, said the trend toward sustainable food production and local sourcing goes hand-in-hand with the customer’s desire for menu items made with ingredients that are or perceived to be more healthful for themselves and their families.
“Sustainable practices and environmental sustainability is undoubtedly one of the most important issues facing the foodservice industry today,” he said. “Today's consumers are informed and educated about sustainability and want to know more about where their food comes from. The industry has been made aware that paying attention to sustainable practices is serious business. This is a trend that isn't going away, and chefs will continue to make it a priority.”
The survey further found that in addition to sustainability ranking among the top 20 trends for 2014, 38 percent of respondents said they thought the issue of environmental sustainability would be the hottest trend 10 years from now, while another 22 percent indicated local sourcing would take the top spot.
For more information on sustainability and how to implement sustainable best practices, visit the NRA’s Conserve program here.