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National Restaurant Association - Chefs Predict Top Restaurant Menu Trends for 2016

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Chefs Predict Top Restaurant Menu Trends for 2016 National Restaurant Association survey shows local sourcing and environmental sustainability remain hot trends

(Washington, D.C.) The National Restaurant Association (NRA) annually explores the top menu trends for the coming year. For this year’s What’s Hot culinary forecast, the NRA surveyed nearly 1,600 professional chefs – members of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) – to find which foods, beverages and culinary themes will be hot on restaurant menus in 2016.

Top 20 food trends for 2016:

1. Locally sourced meats and seafood
2. Chef-driven fast-casual concepts
3. Locally grown produce
4. Hyper-local sourcing 
5. Natural ingredients/minimally processed food
6. Environmental sustainability
7. Healthful kids' meals
8. New cuts of meat 
9. Sustainable seafood
10. House-made/artisan ice cream
11. Ethnic condiments/spices
12. Authentic ethnic cuisine
13. Farm/estate branded items
14. Artisan butchery
15. Ancient grains 
16. Ethnic-inspired breakfast items
17. Fresh/house-made sausage
18. House-made/artisan pickles
19. Food waste reduction/management
20. Street food/food trucks
 

For complete survey results, additional trends to watch, video and downloadable graphics, visit http://www.restaurant.org/foodtrends.

“True trends evolve over time, especially when it comes to lifestyle-based choices that extend into other areas of our everyday life,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research for the National Restaurant Association. “Chefs and restaurateurs are in tune with over-arching consumer trends when it comes to menu planning, but add their own twist of culinary creativity to drive those trends in new directions. No one has a better view into the window of the future of food trends than the culinary professionals who lead our industry.”

"We are excited to see how foodservice establishments will incorporate these culinary trends for 2016," said Thomas Macrina, CEC, CCA, AAC, national president, American Culinary Federation. “Chefs enjoy being creative and many of these trends give them the ability to do what they love: make fresh, delicious food for people to enjoy.”

The top trends in food also extend to the bar, with the hottest alcohol trends including locally produced and craft beer, wine and spirits.

When asked which current food trend has grown the most over that last decade, 44 percent of the chefs surveyed said local sourcing. Looking forward, 41 percent said the trend that will grow the most in the next 10 years is environmental sustainability.

Menu items that gained in trendiness since last year’s survey include African flavors, authentic ethnic cuisine, ethnic condiments/spices, house-made/artisan soft drinks, Middle Eastern flavors and non-traditional liquors. Items that lost momentum include underutilized fish, kale salads, fresh beans/peas, gluten-free cuisine, quinoa and flower essence in cocktails.

The NRA surveyed 1,575 American Culinary Federation members in September 2015, asking them to rate 221 items as a “hot trend,” “yesterday’s news,” or “perennial favorite” on menus in 2016.

About the American Culinary Federation
The American Culinary Federation, Inc. (ACF), established in 1929, is the standard of excellence for chefs in North America. With more than 17,500 members spanning nearly 200 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. ACF is home to ACF Culinary Team USA, the official representative for the United States in major international culinary competitions, and to the Chef & Child Foundation, founded in 1989 to promote proper nutrition in children and to combat childhood obesity. For more information, visit www.acfchefs.org. Find ACF on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ACFChefs and on Twitter @ACFChefs.



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Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises more than 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 14.4 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 21-24, 2016, in Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart); as well as the Kids LiveWell program promoting healthful kids' menu options. For more information, visit Restaurant.org and find us on Twitter @WeRRestaurants, Facebook and YouTube.

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