The National Restaurant Association (NRA), Washington, D.C., and members of the American Culinary Federation (ACF), St. Augustine, Fla., surveyed nearly 1,300 professional chefs to explore food and beverage trends at restaurants in the coming year.
The annual "What's Hot" list gives a peak into which food, beverages and culinary themes will be the new items on restaurant menus in 2017.
According to the survey, menu trends that will be heating up in 2017 include poke, housemade charcuterie, street food, food halls and ramen. Trends that are cooling down include quinoa, black rice and vegetarian and vegan cuisines.
Top 20 food trends
- New cuts of meat (e.g. shoulder tender, oyster steak, Vegas strip steak, Merlot cut)
- Street food-inspired dishes (e.g. tempura, kabobs, dumplings, pupusas)
- Healthful kids' meals
- Housemade charcuterie
- Sustainable seafood
- Ethnic-inspired breakfast items (e.g., chorizo scrambled eggs, coconut milk pancakes)
- Housemade condiments
- Authentic ethnic cuisine
- Heirloom fruits and vegetables
- African flavors
- Ethnic spices (e.g. harissa, curry, peri peri, ras el hanout, shichimi)
- Housemade sausage
- Housemade pickles
- Ancient grains (e.g. kamut, spelt, amaranth, lupin)
- Housemade/artisan ice cream
- Whole grain items in kids' meals
- Protein-rich grains/seeds (e.g., hemp, chia, quinoa, flax)
- Artisan cheeses
- Savory desserts
- Gourmet items in kids' meals
Top 10 concept trends
- Hyper-local sourcing (e.g. restaurant gardens, on-site beer brewing, housemade items)
- Chef-driven fast-casual concepts
- Natural ingredients/clean menus
- Environmental sustainability
- Locally sourced produce
- Locally sourced meat and seafood
- Food waste reduction
- Meal kits (e.g. pre-measured/prepped raw ingredients for home preparation)
- Simplicity/back to basics
"Menu trends today are beginning to shift from ingredient-based items to concept-based ideas, mirroring how consumers tend to adapt their activities to their overall lifestyle philosophies, such as environmental sustainability and nutrition," says Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research for NRA. "Also among the top trends for 2017, we're seeing several examples of housemade food items and various global flavors, indicating that chefs and restaurateurs are further experimenting with from-scratch preparation and a broad base of flavors."
"Chefs are on an endless quest to redefine how consumers eat," adds Thomas Macrina, national president of ACF. "By masterfully transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary, culinary professionals are at the forefront of changing the culinary landscape."
The NRA surveyed 1,298 ACF members in October, asking them to rate 169 items as a "hot trend," "yesterday's news" or "perennial favorite" on menus in 2017.