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Fifteen Must Watch Food Trends

What’s on the hot list? Here’s a look at top trends to keep on your radar.

Friday, August 15, 2014
Mr. Dan J Richardson
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From category management to commodity prices to menu trends, entegra Procurement Services constantly monitors foodservice trends. As your procurement partner, we share this type on information with our clients as a way to help you manage your operations. Our expert team of supply managers and our vendor partners have access to information that we know will help you to manage your cost of food and related supplies while staying on trend to please your customers.

1. Gluten-free Cuisine: This trend broke into the Top 5 in the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) What’s Hot” list in 2014. Look for more gluten-free options on menus and requests from gluten “avoiders”—a growing group that avoids gluten even though they may not be allergic.

2. Top Ethnic Cuisines:
Dishes such as Peruvian ceviche and Korean kimchee are taking center stage. Peruvian and Korean cuisines captured the two top slots among ethnic cuisines on NRA’s What’s Hot list, followed by Southeast Asian, Regional Ethnic and Ethnic fusion.

3. Menu Stars:
“All themes seem to lead back to the notion of health,” notes menu consultant Nancy Kruse. That means healthy proteins, grains, bowls, “stealth health” dishes, functional ingredients and lighter entrées.

4. 67%
Growth in protein-rich foods on menus from 2008 to 2013, according to Technomic. Menu analyst Nancy Kruse attributes the growth to a sense among the general public that proteins are healthy, diet-friendly choices.

5. Hybridization of Food:
Last year brought “mash-ups,” including the popular hybrid Cronut (croissant-doughnut) and ramen burgers (in which fried noodle patties replace hamburger buns). The Food Channel predicts more “hybridization,” including enhancing proteins with vegetables, such as mushrooms in meat.

6. Return of the Carbs:
Starches are staging a comeback—from ramen to buckwheat noodles to pasta made with unusual ingredients, Technomic predicts. Look for rice bowls, flatbreads, wraps and artisan breads.

7. All-Day Dining:
Diners nosh, skip meals, eat breakfast for dinner and vice versa. That means chicken and turkey are showing up in breakfast sandwiches, and more menu items are available all day long.

8. Better Pizza:
A “perfect pies” trend is coming hot on the heels of the better burger trend, spotlighting customized pizzas quickly baked to order.

9. 2014 Buzzwords:

  • Filipino food
  • Buckwheat is grain of the year, even if it’s not a grain (it’s a fruit seed)
  • Fluke is fish of the year, octopus is second, trout is third
  • Kale still rules, but cauliflower’s working forward
  • High-priced vegetarian tasting menus
  • New uses for pretzels
  • Crackdown on food waste
  • Coconut everything
  • Mexican sandwiches (tortas and cemitas)
  • Sorghum becomes a trendy sweetener

Source: Baum and Whiteman consultants

10. Continued High Beef Prices: Still-high beef prices mean that chicken will be big again throughout 2014, Technomic predicts. Beyond meat, expect to see center-of-the-plate egg dishes and other vegetarian alternatives from mushrooms to beans.

11. Pricing Snapshot - Jan. 2013 vs. Jan. 2014 prices:
Wheat up by 1.73%
Beef up by 6.27%
Cheese up by 7.04%
Add fries, frying oil down 18.77%

12. Pork Is on the Move. Pork is on the fast track as the fastest growing protein in foodservice. Twenty-two of the 24 pork product categories reviewed by Technomic exhibited positive growth from 2011 to 2013. Think bacon, carnita meat and other pork specialties.

13. Veggies on the Menu. Veggies have chalked up 11 percent gains in mentions on menus over the past three years, Technomic found. Heavy hitters? Kale and caramelized root veggies will continue to make their mark on menus.
14. Predictions for Food Inflation: Entegra forecasts year-end inflation at 2.4 percent for fiscal year 2014, lower than originally expected. Besides beef and seafood, there are no real signs of significant inflation. Keep an eye on coffee and paper products, though. They may trend higher through 2014.

15. Demographic Due Diligence: Mintel suggests targeting three often overlooked demographic groups:

  • Hispanics (spending power is expected to reach nearly $1.7 trillion by 2017)
  • Women (visit restaurants less than men and this is likely due to their being more health- and budget-conscious, a niche opportunity for foodservice)
  • Baby Boomers (more disposable income than other demographics, few marketing campaigns specifically target them.)

About entegra Procurement Services®
Entegra Procurement Services provides customized procurement and distribution services for food and related supplies for multi-unit clients in the hospitality and non-commercial industries. As part of a global purchasing network with annual purchases that exceed $5 billion, entegra uses some of the most competitive pricing in the industry for our customers. We have the ability to impact not only the cost of goods our clients pay, but also the level of service that they receive from our supplier partners. www.entegraPS.com. For additional information on the entegra Program, please contact Dan.Richardson@entegraPS.com.

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Dan Richardson    Mr. Dan J Richardson
National Director, Lodging & Gaming
Business Development
Entegra Procurement Services
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