Food trends are the pulse of the foodie public. Some trends reflect the desire for healthier eating habits, others – well not so much…. remember Piecaken from Thanksgiving? 2016 is going to see yet another boost in clean eating –  “healthification” of fast casual food. Restaurants will need to integrate diversified menu options as customers are seeking out quality food products, plant based alternatives, and African inspired flavors.

Below are some food trend predictions we think you’ll be seeing a lot of in 2016:

 

Unique Meats

Lesser-known cuts of meat like the teres major will provide the culinary adventure foodies want in 2016. The tenderness of these cuts mean versatility for different menu items – full cuts or petite tender medallions. A resounding 80 percent of chefs surveyed by the National Restaurant Association also predicted locally sourced meats will be popular food trend items this year.

 

Plant Based Alternatives

Vegan and vegetarian options will be taking up more space on menus this year. The National Restaurant Association predicts a shift in dietary preferences. Plant based products – veggie burgers and non-dairy milks are becoming mainstream, not just options for those with dietary concerns. Mintel, the global leader in marketing intelligence predicts, meat alternative product sales are expected to reach $5 Billion by 2020.

Notable mention – a new breed of pasta. Vegetable substitutes like asparagus, zucchini, and sweet potatoes provide grain-free, gluten-free, and carb-free options

 

Ethnic Inspired Flavors

African and Middle Eastern flavors will be hot menu trend this year. Just as Sriracha became the ketchup of 2015, ethnic spices such as berbere and harissa are bringing the heat. Traditionally used as pastes, these aromatic and flavorful spices can double as rubs or even stand alone condiments.

 

Hyper-local

Fresh just got fresher – Hyper local food trends mean garden grown herbs and spices. A newer concept of the locally grown movement, rooftop or backyard gardens may be an option if you have the space. If not, consider making them a part of your restaurant’s interior.

 

Transparency in Production

People want to know not only where their food comes from, but also how it was made – production is now a part of the craft. The transparency production trend lends itself to handmade foods and craft products – specialty breads or cheese for example. Unique ice cream flavors and artisanal cheeses will also be popular this year.

 

Mindful Dining

This is becoming a way of life. More than 1,200 consumers participated in a study and found that ethical choices impacted their decisions on where they dine. Factors of influence include the way employees were treated, whether or not the restaurant was active in its community.

Now that you’re up to date with the food trends for 2016, consider a few that would work best in your restaurant. We’d love to know what works for you. Let us know @joinhombase on Twitter or in the comments below.

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