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National Restaurant Association - What’s Hot: Top 10 food trends for 2017

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What’s Hot: Top 10 food trends for 2017

It’s that time again – time to savor the HOT food trends that will drive customers through your doors. We surveyed nearly 1,300 professional chefs – all members of the American Culinary Federation ‑ to find the menu items that will impact sales in the year ahead. Given a list of 169 items, from street food-inspired dishes to healthful kids’ meals, the chefs ranked each item as “Hot,” “Yesterday’s News,” or “Perennial Favorite.” Here’s our Top 10 hot trends:

  1. New cuts of meat

Chefs are excited to beef up their menus with new, and often affordable, cuts like shoulder tender, oyster steak, and Vegas Strip Steak, and guests are going to lap them up with gusto! Beef. It’s what for dinner… again.

Hot Trend: 71%
Yesterday’s News: 18%
Perennial Favorite: 12%

  1. Street food-inspired dishes

These foods serve as a gateway to other cultures, people and places. Consumers get to discover flavors of local foods from faraway places and chefs get to create their versions of the ultimate dumplings, tempura, or kabobs. That’s a treat in and of itself.

Hot Trend: 70%
Yesterday’s News: 13%
Perennial Favorite: 17%

  1. Healthful kids’ meals

The desire to offer kids healthful, nutritious meals that taste great resonates with chefs. While burgers and fries are still tops with kids, salads, fruit, whole grains and lean proteins are showing up on menus with increasing frequency.

Hot Trend: 70%
Yesterday’s News: 9%
Perennial Favorite: 14%

  1. House-made charcuterie

This cured-meat answer to the cheese plate is popular with chefs and diners alike. Meat-loving consumers are gobbling it up and chefs, using all parts of the animal to prepare it, can potentially lower their food costs in the process. It’s a tasty win-win for everyone.

Hot Trend: 69%
Yesterday’s News: 16%
Perennial Favorite: 15%

  1. Sustainable seafood

More chefs, restaurateurs and consumers say they’re paying attention to the environmental impact of seafood on menus. All are interested in learning about the fish they buy, cook and consume. They want to know where it’s from, how it’s sourced, raised or caught, and how it affects the eco-system.

Hot Trend: 69%
Yesterday’s News: 10%
Perennial Favorite: 17%

  1. Ethnic-inspired breakfast items

With breakfast food increasingly being served at any time of day, many consumers want ethnic offerings included on breakfast menus. Dishes featuring Asian-flavored syrups or items like chorizo scrambled eggs or breakfast burritos are “Muy Caliente!”

68% Hot Trend
18% Yesterday’s News
10% Perennial Favorite

  1. House-made condiments

Whether it’s a special type of sriracha or a made-from-scratch ketchup, mustard or mayonnaise, chefs see consumers clamoring for it. House-made condiments are experiencing center-of-the-plate popularity. Hot sauce, anyone?

68% Hot Trend
15% Yesterday’s News
12% Perennial Favorite

  1. Authentic ethnic cuisine


Ethnic foods and global cuisine seem to be everywhere these days, especially with the help of adventurous millennials who are increasingly exploring global flavors. Consumers' sophisticated palates, driven by international travel and access to a wider variety of ethnic cuisines right here at home, inspire chefs to immerse themselves in food from around the world. 

66% Hot Trend
11% Yesterday’s News
17% Perennial Favorite

  1. Heirloom fruits and vegetables

Diners want to know everything about the food they eat: where it comes from, how it’s grown and who grows it. To answer that first question, heirloom produce has seen increased attention recently, with chefs and restaurateurs seeking out venerable varietals of everything from tomatoes, to beans, to apples. How about serving a Mortgage Lifter Tomato today?

66% Hot Trend
9% Yesterday’s News
22% Perennial Favorite

  1. African flavors

America’s growing multicultural population is behind the charge for more international food. Relatively under-explored in the United States, African flavors and ingredients increasingly pop up on menus across the country. So savvy culinarians are adapting menus to include more dishes rich in whole grains, beans, vegetables and exotic spices from the second-largest continent in the world.

66% Hot Trend
22% Yesterday’s News
13% Perennial Favorite

Download the What's Hot 2017 Culinary Forecast

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