• Home
    Home 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.
  • Foundation
    Foundation 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.
  • Show
    Show May 18-21, 2019 As the international foodservice marketplace, the National Restaurant Association 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 - Food trends to watch in 2015

Skip to navigation Skip to content

News & Research

Email Print
News RSS

Food trends to watch in 2015

Based on analysis of its annual What's Hot culinary forecast over time, the National Restaurant Association has identified the following as trends to watch on menus in 2015:

Waste Not, Want Not: Environmental sustainability remains among the hottest menu trends. As with most maturing trends, sub-trends emerge over time; in 2015, food waste reduction and management is at the forefront of restaurant operations. Composting, recycling and donating are all tactics of food waste strategies tying into both sustainability and social responsibility. In addition, food costs are once again on the rise and back on operators’ list of top challenges, spurring restaurants to take a closer look at minimizing waste and surplus as a cost-management tool.

Our House: As the local sourcing trend continues at full speed in 2015, so does the hyper-local sub-trend. Beyond restaurant gardens, hyper-local is extending more fully into house-made, farm-branded and artisan items. From ice cream to cheese, pickles to bacon, lemonade to beer, restaurants are producing their own signature menu items from scratch.

In a Pickle: Borrowing terminology from social media, pickles are the Throwback Thursday of food trends. Common preparation methods for millennia, pickling and fermenting are making a comeback big time – but with a modern twist. Restaurants are exploring house-made pickles, ethnic flavors and specialty vinegars, small-batch producers with less traditional vegetable varieties, and fermented flavor profiles in a variety of dishes.

Going (More) Global: An evolving trend for the past decades, ethnic cuisine continues its inroads into mainstream menus. As American palates become more sophisticated and adventurous, so do restaurant offerings. Micro-trending in this category is fusion cuisines, as well as authentic and regional, underscoring the breadth and depth of flavors being explored. Also, ethnic ingredients, including cheeses, flour and condiments, are increasingly finding their way into non-ethnic dishes. Specific dishes, such as ramen, ethnic street-food and kids’ entrees are also gaining momentum.

Mini Gourmet: Children’s menus are drawing more attention from chefs and restaurant operators. Gone are the days when kids’ menus were nothing but hot dogs and things shaped like cartoon characters and dinosaurs. This is the era of gourmet kids’ dishes adapted from adult menu items with more adventurous flavor profiles than traditional children’s options. Growing in parallel are healthy versions of those gourmet kids’ items, featuring whole grains, vegetables, oven-baked items and entrée salads.

Shooting Menu Stars: As some items heat up in the menu trends environment, others are losing steam. The meteoric rise of hybrid desserts (looking at you, croissant-donut) is beginning to take a downward trajectory. And while still among the top trends, the momentum of gluten-free cuisine is slowing down. Similarly, the trendiness of Greek yogurt is decelerating. Only time will tell if these items will become perennial favorites or yesterday’s news.

Download the NRA's food trends to watch in 2015 as a PDF.

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