Trends according to the National Restaurant Association, that is...
Here's the link. I'll do a quick recap.
Numbers 1 and 2 are interesting--smaller, individual-sized portions for number 1. Indulgent desserts comes in at Number 2. Yes, we are finally ready to have our cake and eat it, too.
Number 3 is customizable coffee. Say what you will, but good coffee still takes time and attention. I like the ease of the "pod" coffee idea, but I don't like the flavor as much as my own espresso every morning.
4. Southeast Asian Flavors. Still. No more needs be said.
5. Sustainability. Glad to see big operators getting on this bandwagon. It matters.
6. Molecular for the masses. This kind of cracks me up. Can you say Dipping Dots? That's been molecular for the masses for 15 years, but...oh well. I am one of the food professionals who still finds amusement in the molecular movement. I'm not too stuffy to be delighted by neat little tricks. (Except foam. not a big fan of foams)...but it still better taste great.
7. Better For You, things like kefir over yogurt and stevia...Okay. But I don't think I'll be trading in my Greek yogurt for kefir anytime soon. Willing to give stevia a chance.
8. Convenience solutions--individual servings of LOTS of things...guess if you can deliver better quality and the restaurateur eliminates waste, that's a good thing.
9. Hypoallergenic foods--again, this is a trend for owners who want to offer foods for all their customers--"one-product solutions for sensitive customers"--I would say this is a good thing for owners and consumers alike--when a label has only one ingredient, at least you know you are eating real food.
As for me, trends I tend to see in the store? Buyers looking for good prices and quality food. Buyers objecting to things like pink slime and meat glue. GOOD. We should object to that. And, btw, if you buy from a local farmer who cares about what he or she is raising and selling, you would know there's no pink slime OR meat glue in your meat.
Keep demanding quality. We deserve it in our food supply. That's a trend we should watch for year after year.