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Out with the Old, In with the New dec. 29, 2011 by Lynn kuntz welcome to 2012. one of the most interesting phenomena as the old year closes out and the new unfolds is the veritable flood of predictions of what’s the next big thing in foods and beverages. typically they range from the sublime to the prosaic to the ridiculous. For example: the James Beard Foundation bloggers have called canelés (a custardy French pastry) “the new, new cupcakes.” Andrew Freeman & Co. called 2012 “the year of the potato,” with the advent of french fry menus and other customizable potatoes. According to the Huffington Post, the new hot sandwich is…drum roll please…a French dip. seriously. or, in a somewhat perplexing food trends of 2011 retrospective, Huffpo claims insects as one of their top choices. i suppose that is good news for carmine and cochineal users. plus, it may explain the craving for a French dip. Epicurious says to keep an eye on high-end indian, but relegates korean bulgogito the has-been bin. Various other sources give the nod to norwegian/scandinavian, eastern European and “reinvented” thai. According to GrowBiz Media, look to Mediterranean food, particularly Greek, spanish and Middle Eastern. on their list of buzzwords for 2012, Baum+Whiteman has ingredients and dishes such as: fresh sardine, uni, yuzu, tamarind, ox tail, kalbi, bibimbap, bulgogi, huacatay, hibiscus, arepas, coconut oil, shiso, lamb ribs and belly, bao, ‘nduja, bacalao and green papaya. some of these have appeared on previous 2010 or 2011 lists, but in other cases, thank goodness we live in the age of Google and ethnic markets. The Food Channel's top 10 food trends says peruvian cuisine may be the next big thing on the ethnic culinary scene, although it’s also appeared in other lists in 2007 and 2009. while 2012 might well be peru’s year, despite our tendency to call our family guinea pig Meatloaf due to his appearance, we won’t be popping him in the oven anytime soon, despite the country's cuy-centric cuisine. Yes, that's guinea pig. it’s always interesting to decode these trend pieces for a wider audience. to a certain extent, history shows a good number of these specific items are just foodie fads vs. something the general public is embracing. still, it’s always good to look outside the norm to get inspiration. And there are always related possibilities—presumably icing demand has risen due to the cupcake craze. perhaps macro-trend lists like the one from Leatherhead Food Research—including health and wellness, sustainability, convenience, flavor solutions for healthier foods, natural, affordable luxuries, etc.—are of more use, although there’s little on the list that will shock anyone in the food business. those are certainly issues you’ve been grappling with, and we’ve been writing about for years. Because, while it’s good to address the trends, it’s even better to know how to execute a well-designed, safe, nutritious and delicious processed food or beverage.

Be sure to download sysco’s new chef ref app for your ipad or iphone, free from the itunes app store. (Android version coming soon!)




Chef Survey:

december 8, 2011

IN 2012 the national restaurant Association’s ‘what’s Hot in 2012’ survey of nearly 1,800 professional chefs – members culinary     of the  American  Federation (AcF) that'children’s nutrition and local sourcing ' – reveals ' ' ' ' will be the menus year.  hottest trends   onrestaurant   this coming  the chefs also identified smartphone apps and tablet computers ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' as the top technology said they    trends.   in addition,   6 out  of 10 chefs  would consider a food truck as an entrepreneurial business venture.



The top 10 menu trends for next year will be: 


16. Health/nutrition as a culinary theme  17. Non-traditional fish  18. Fruit/vegetable kids’ side items  19. Children’s mini-meals (smaller versions of adult menu items)  20.  Culinary cocktails  ' '     ' ' ' in the survey were questions about technology trends,' Also included ' ' food trucks, fruit and' vegetables on menus, and restaurant'gardens. ' ' ' ' About one-quarter of the chefs (26 percent) ranked smartphone apps ' in' 2012,' and' another ' as the hottest technology trend in restaurants quarter (25 percent) said tablet computers (i.e. ipads for menus and  wine lists) said ' will be the top technology trend. sixteen percent social media would be the top trend, and the same percentage     ' while ' said mobile/wireless/pay-at-the-table payment options, 4 percent said Qr codes. 

1. Locally sourced meats and seafood   2. Locally grown produce  3. Healthful kids’ meals  ! ! 4. Hyper-local items  5. Sustainability as a culinary theme  ' ' 6. Children’s nutrition as a culinary theme   7. Gluten-free/food allergy-conscious items  ' ' 8. Locally produced wine and beer  when asked how to best follow the usdA’s latest dietary guidelines ' ' 9. Sustainable seafood   ' ' ' said ' ' of increasing' fruits and vegetables in Americans’ diet, 55 percent ! ' ' ' 10. Whole grain items in kids’ meals  ' dishes ' ' menus, ' ' ' ' variety of ' vegetable/fruit side offering a wider on ! ' ' ' ' ' and 16 19 percent said using more 'produce in' existing recipes, ' ' ' “the !top ' survey ' ' menu trends ' 'we’re seeing in our ‘what’s Hot in 2012’ percent said following visual guideline ' ' of making fruits ' ' Myplate’s ' reflect the macro-trends we have seen grow over the last several   and vegetables half the plate. ' ' ! ' ' ' years,” said Joy dubost, ph.d, r.d., director of nutrition & Healthy    ' ' ' ' ' '      ' restaurant ' 'Association. '' “nutrition – especially Living' for' the national when asked whether the ' ' ' tableservice ' ' restaurant where' they work 1 when it comes to children – is becoming a major focus for the nation’s has a garden, one-third ' they ' don’t ' said ' that it does, one in five said nearly!' one million restaurants, in tune with consumers’ increasing have space for a garden, and nearly half said they don’t have interest in healthful eating.” ' ' ' ' ' ' ' a garden and rely on suppliers for all their produce needs. !  ' ' ' ' ' – from ' meat and fish, to produce,   “Local!' sourcing of everything the Association surveyed 1,791 American culinary Federation ' to alcoholic beverages – is' another big ' ' ' trend for 2012. Local farms member chefs in october-november 2011, asking them to rate and food producers have become an important source of ingredients ' ' 223 individual food items, beverages, cuisines and culinary themes for chefs and restaurateurs wishing to support the members of their as a “hot trend,” “yesterday’s news,” or “perennial favorite” on ' ' ' ' ' ' business community and highlight seasonal ingredients on menus,” restaurant menus in 2012. ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' dubost' added.      ' ' ' ' ' these and many trends will be showcased  other restaurant industry  ' “the American culinary Federation has a long history of working with ' ' at the 2012 national' restaurant Association restaurant, Hotel-Motel families to ensure that children receive adequate nutrition,'so we are ' show, to be held at its new dates May 5-8 at chicago’s Mccormick ' ' '   ' delighted that chefs have chosen to include healthful kids meals in place. companies from across the united states and ' ' ' ' Exhibiting '  ” said Michael ty, cEc, AAc, AcF the top 10 menu trends for 2012, F of industry ' ' ' around ' the world will cater to tens of thousands  president. “we are also  pleased  national to see an emphasis on local ' ' ' ' will share ' '   professionals,   and top chefs and trend-watchers their sourcing  across major ingredient categories, including produce,  ' ' demonstrations ' ' education expertise in culinary and sessions.   a vital component of children’s diets.” For information, visit            more  ' ' ' ''    '    # Rounding out the top 20 hot menu trends are:  For complete ‘what’s Hot in 2012’ survey results, video and ' ' ' ' ' ' ' downloadable images, visit 11. Newly fabricated cuts of meat     ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' 12. Farm/estate-branded items   '    13. Food trucks/street food  ' 'L.5/7#97/(37*+,' ' ' ' ' ' ' '' '' 14. Artisan spirits  > ' ' ' 7 ''5 G  15.  House-made/artisan ice cream      ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' 3 ' nov. 27, 2011 we’ve released our 2012 trends Forecast – the top ten food trends we see for the coming year. this report is put together in conjunction with culturewaves®, the international Food Futurists® and Mintel international. Here's a look at what we see happening in the world of food for 2012.


no, we’re not talking about anything illegal here. what we’re talking about is the growing use of intentional scarcity and limited supplies of items that serve only to drive up their popularity. After all, if we humans are told there is something that’s really hard to get, we immediately want it. the Black Friday limited-supply “doorbusters” are a good example—so is the Mcrib. there’s sort of a reverse psychology going on here. Many of us remember the old soup nazi episode from seinfeld (did you know, in an ironic twist, those soups are now available in stores?) Another example of this limited supply philosophy: the tamale Queen in Atlanta, whose signage proclaims they serve from “11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or ’til the food is gone.”

Finding common Ground and common courtesy. what do you get when you mix social media with restaurants? often a lot of frustration on both sides. this is the year we see a lot of that coming to a head, with a line being drawn in the sand(wich)…which is eventually crossed peacefully by both the restaurateurs and the patrons.

we all recognize conspicuous consumption by its over-the-top, in-your-face obviousness and excess. But inconspicuous? this is the new luxury—spending quite a bit, but making it look like we’re not really spending much at all. we’re seeing it in restaurants and in travel experiences, particularly with the rise in culinary tourism and food-related travel. in fact, what we used to think of as more generic, non-branded hotels can actually become the hotels of choice when their restaurant and food offerings are upgraded.

welcome to the new balancing act when it comes to eating. on the one hand, we have to fit our food styles to our paychecks. on the other, we have to feed our soul. in certain parts of the country we have the Food desert, where nutritious food is hard to get. in other areas, we have bountiful markets on every corner. we see the rebirth of the butcher, baker and candlestick maker right next door to the newly defined “neighborhood markets” that are, ironically, owned by the big box stores. the point is, we either can’t decide, or we want it all.

it used to be that college students lived on ramen noodles and other inexpensive food that provided some sustenance without breaking the nearly nonexistent budget. things have become much more complicated, and we expect it to continue in that direction. campus “cuisine” has now become part of the “clockless” world, where grocery stores are in student unions and you can charge food against your student account. colleges have been forced to provide a wide-ranging food experience for the younger generation, who expect more out of what they put in their bodies than previous generations.

it looks like peruvian cuisine may be the next Big thing on the ethnic culinary scene. Gastón Acurio certainly hopes so. He reportedly has invested $5.5 million on his La Mar cebicheria peruana restaurant which opened its doors this fall in new York. the Mistura Food Festival, held annually in peru’s capital of Lima, has become one of the biggest food events in the world, attended by a half-million foodies, including many internationally-known chefs.

there is an interesting byproduct of the health movement when it comes to food. Less sodium, fresher locally-sourced produce, and fewer smokers on premise means people are tasting ingredients as they were meant to be—sometimes for the first time. we can also credit menu transparency and menu labeling, since companies are making a real effort to keep all those scary-sounding ingredients out of the mix.

who would have thought we needed kitchens outdoors? For grilling, perhaps—but a full kitchen, complete with covered patio, granitecounter prep area, sink, mini fridge, rotisserie, stove top, and tV? they are becoming the new home essential. Expensive, yes, but people are justifying it by continuing to stay home more, entertaining more, and doing it in style.

Along with health concerns, food safety concerns, and old fashioned flavor, you have a new breed of chefs that simply like to cook with what they’ve grown. Expect to see this move beyond simple herb gardens or rooftop displays and into some full-fledged branded farms.

Everyone is their own food tV star these days. All it takes is a simple camera and a Youtube account. it came to the forefront with the book and movie, Julie and Julia, but today, everyone from precocious kids to wiseacre twentysomething dudes to italian grandmothers are all cooking up a storm online and teaching you how to do it.


Looking ahead to beverage trends in 2012 dec. 19, 2011 by stephen Beaumont For those of us who concern ourselves with the world of beverage alcohol, 2011 was nothing if not a most interesting year. After years of struggling sales, cognac suddenly came roaring back. in the face of an economic crunch, craft beer grew more eclectic, more expensive and overwhelmingly more popular. Mixologists began raiding their pantries for all sorts of culinary cocktail ingredients. Vodka makers found a bevy of new flavorings, from smoked salmon to cupcake frosting. And champagne, of all wines, continued its comeback by building on its unexpectedly strong growth in 2010. After all of that — and so much more — we started to wonder what surprises 2012 could possibly have in store. so we asked some well-known drinks professionals what’s on the horizon. sandy Block, vice president of beverage operations for Legal sea Foods: “not sure if i’m behind the curve, but we’re seeing rising interest in aged tequilas [añejo and reposado] in cocktails, providing the spirit has enough zip, structure and pure agave flavor to balance the sweet elements.” doug Frost, wine consultant: “Portugal may be due for its coming-out party. the relatively cooler conditions along its coast create wines with a bit more freshness and crispness than many of iberia’s other offerings, [and] as consumer awareness lags behind quality, prices for portuguese wines are very good.” Jim Meehan, head mixologist at new York’s pdt and author of the new “the pdt cocktail Book”: “Cocktails on tap, wine  on tap, vermouth on tap — 10 years after many bars abandoned the soda gun, it seems as though many are growing trigger happy.” christine sismondo, author of “America walks into a Bar”: “while Americans are probably never going to be won over to the anise category, there is hope for caraway. we’re starting to see aquavit being taken up by bartenders as a cocktail ingredient. Kümmel [liqueur flavored with caraway, cumin and fennel] is all the rage in England and will hit here eventually.”


david wondrich, author of “punch: the delights (and dangers) of the Flowing Bowl”: “the biggest trend i see is bringing mixology down  to the fun/dive-bar level — making new bars that are casual and unpretentious but will serve you a real drink, like the prizefighter in Emeryville, calif., Viktor & spoils in new York city, and a bunch of other places whose names escape me.” kip snider, director of beverage for the beer-oriented Yard House chain: “i see an increase in the blends of styles already making a splash, like amber pale ales, Belgian [india pale ales], black ipAs and white ipAs — beers that please the taste buds with two flavor profiles.” noah rothbaum, editor-in-chief of and author of “the Business of spirits”: “in the coming year, more people will be drinking local spirits made by the hundreds of craft distilleries that have opened around the country.” Michael roper, co-owner of the beer-focused chicago bar-restaurant the Hopleaf: “i think that high-flavor/lower-alcohol beers are going to be on the rise. there has been so much emphasis on huge, highgravity beers that there is a great thirst for beers you can actually drink in a quantity of more than one. Bars and restaurants also want good beers that they can make some money on, too, [since] the patron who lingers over a 13.9-percent double imperial stout is not a profit center.” John szabo, wine consultant: “For wine, thin is in, so expect to see the end of 15-percent alcohol, unbalanced prune juice and an embracing of lightness.” John Hansell, editor and publisher of the whisky Advocate magazine: “whiskey companies have maxed out capacity, [and] producers don’t want to put barely legal product on the market, [so] they blend it with some of their older stuff to make it taste better. since the age statement on a bottle has to be the age of the youngest whiskey in the blend, they will give the whiskey a name, instead. we’ve been seeing a lot of whiskey with names instead of age statements, and we will continue to do so.” nov. 8, 2011 by chris urban

Seven leading U.S. restaurant trends for 2012 Just as the nation's economic forecast includes mixed signals, restaurants across the u.s. face a varied landscape of expected trends in 2012. technomic, the leading foodservice research and consulting firm, sees these seven developments making news in the coming year: 1. Consumers Seek a Twist on the Familiar: shell-shocked consumers are in no mood to take risks, but novel flavors still tingle their taste buds. Look for comfort foods with a twist (gourmet, ethnic, artisan, wood-fired) as well as innovation in familiar formats (sandwiches, wraps, pizza, pasta) rather than breakout items taken from less-familiar global cuisines.

4. Social Networking Influence Accelerates: consumers increasingly trust friends and peers more than professional marketers. they’re taking control of social media to share their restaurant experiences and opinions with the public (via review sites such as opentable), with their own circles (via Facebook and Foursquare) or both (via twitter). this helps some restaurants rocket to popularity and leaves others quiet. 5. Customers Want More Information: consumers want transparency — looking for disclosure of everything from calories and allergens on menus to labor and local-sourcing practices. A small but growing number are serious about nutrition, labeling, sustainability and community involvement, and they are using such knowledge to make purchasing decisions.

2. Commodities Costs Drive Rustic Fare Made In-House: commodity costs are rising, labor costs hold steady and diners demand rustic fare, the simple preparations of fresh ingredients. result: operators will curtail purchases of value-added items in favor of cheaper cuts, beans, grains and produce that require more back-of-house prep to transform into honest, homestyle food.

6. Operators Try to Resist Discounting: the foodservice industry will continue to operate in a take-share environment, but discounting is cutting to the bone. to counter daily deals and other forms of discounting, operators turn to creative, sometimes in-the-moment, methods to reward their best customers, such as a free dessert out of the blue.

3. The Next Steps in Local Sourcing: the rising use of seasonal and local items suits the less-is-more culinary trend. to facilitate flexible purchasing, growers, manufacturers, distributors and operators continue to work toward a more transparent, safe and efficient supply chain, streamlining workflow, recording every step and reducing waste.

7. Brands Expand Through Flexible Formats: Format flexibility is required as restaurants cater to new around-the-clock dayparts, switch gears from fast-casual by day to full-service at night, or transform their kitchens into catering commissaries during slow times. this flexibility is also evidenced in streamlined, high-efficiency, smaller-footprint units and brand extensions.

Five Food Trends for 2012 and Beyond nov. 30, 2011

Article by Marian salzman

on the food front, Americans may be finally accepting that we are what we eat and start walking the walk. Even our new taste for nordic cuisine is fueled, perhaps, by images of the lean, robust, and outdoorsy. But what other things are trending on the food front for 2012–13? with denmark’s recent “fat tax” imposed on high-fat food products and the u.k. contemplating a similar fine on all things fatty, look for more governments to follow suit and smack down on our expanding waistlines. which brings the bigger trend into our (extra-large) mirror: Fat phobia will run rampant next year. people are freaking out about being fat. And countries such as France, a traditionally “fat-free” zone, are experiencing a rise in obesity. nearly 14% of French adults are now obese, up from 8% 10 years ago, and a French dependence on fast food might be to blame. As fat phobia takes over the globe, look for big names such as pepsi to get in on the act by offering more mindful items. speaking of mindful, the healthy snack category will be healthy not only in its offerings but also in sales. u.s. retail sales of packaged snacks increased to about $64 billion in 2010, according to packaged Facts’ “snack Foods in the u.s., 4th Edition” report. By 2015, packaged snack sales are slated to approach $77 billion. Look for packaged baby carrots, low-fat chips and salsa, or hummus to be huge for those looking to slim down. regardless of what choices you make, the flavor story for 2012–13 will include fervor for Southern cuisine, perhaps as a counterpoint to all the health food. According to the 2012 Zagat guide, southern food is hot

(literally). chef Marcus samuelsson’s Harlem eatery red rooster is wooing celebrities with okra, smothered pork chops, and fried green tomatoes. You just wait and see: down-home cooking will trend high. Foodies are also buzzing about flavors such as pickled and peppered treats. the zingy flavors of ginger and chilis will penetrate not only our sinuses but also our palates; you can thank our current obsession with korean food for this spicy development. korean tacos and kimchi are all the rage and gained huge popularity on the food truck scene in Los Angeles, and now beyond. Michelin recently awarded its first star to a korean restaurant Manhattan’s danji, and more korean restaurants will open in urban areas to appeal to those looking to spice up their meals. the continued mobile, pop-up and food truck obsession will continue to redefine how we eat. A recent survey by the national restaurant Association showed that 59% of consumers said they would likely visit a food truck if their favorite restaurant offered one. that’s up from 47% a year ago. Look for big brands/chains to hit the highway as this superhot trend keeps them queuing up in 2012–13. if you feel as if the food truck trend might be more fad than anything else, think of it in broader strokes: Food truck culture speaks to our need for yummy fare that’s innovative, culturally collaborative (food truck food is often fusion), and moderately priced, as well as our continued interest in nontraditional retail offerings.


Outlook 2012: A Restaurant Trend Recap

restaurant operators are concerned about commodity costs and stalled consumer spending, but optimistically expect sales and profits in 2012 to beat last year’s levels, according to an exclusive survey from nation’s restaurant news. More than 150 subscribers to nrn a.m. — the daily e-newsletter from nation’s restaurant news — helped shed light on what the industry is expecting for the year ahead. operators answered questions on hiring, expansion plans, menu pricing and even whether this year’s presidential election will change the political environment in washington, and hence the economy or the consumer (hint: respondents don't think washington politics will ever change).

What do you expect your 2012 sales to be?

What do you expect your 2012 profits to be?

In 2012, my restaurant business plans to...

In 2012, my business plans to...

If yes, my business will increase menu prices by...

The 2012 presidential election will...

In 2012, my restaurant business plans to...

The most important aspect of my restaurant’s  menu in 2012 will be...

What will be the industry’s biggest challenge in 2012?

In 2012, my restaurant plans to put more dollars behind...


Top restaurant marketing trends for 2012 dec. 19, 2011

Article by Lisa Jennings

with the battle for market share expected to get even tougher next year, restaurant operators will have to be smarter in how they target “influencers” — people others turn to for restaurant advice — to drive traffic.

3. SIGNATURE ITEMS. Most restaurants have a signature item or two that stands out, but oliver sees the role of the signature dish becoming increasingly important.

so says carin Galletta oliver, president of the san Francisco-based word-of-mouth marketing agency ink Foundry, who predicts six restaurant marketing trends for 2012 — plus one trend she contends restaurant operators should rethink in the new year. ink Foundry has worked with restaurant brands such as Bonefish Grill, Fogo de chao, california pizza kitchen, rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill and carl’s Jr.

Having a great signature dish is one way to offer influencers a “wow experience,” oliver said. “it gives them something to tell their friends about.”

consumers are growing ever more selective about restaurant choices as they cut back on dining out occasions, oliver said. “they’re going to want to feel they’re making a safe choice,” she said. “And that puts more pressure on restaurant operators to make a connection.” Oliver predicts five key tactics restaurant operators will use next year: 1. DATA. the number of tools that allow restaurant operators to collect information about social media, public relations, e-mail marketing and advertising is growing. savvy restaurant operators are also collecting data on their customers in various ways.

it also gives people something to search, she said. consumers tend not to search online for generic terms like “steak restaurant.” instead, they’ll look for where they can find a great macaroni and cheese dish or taco. oliver noted the Bonefish Grill chain, which is known for its Bang Bang shrimp appetizer, an item that creates positive chatter on Yelp. “it’s extremely challenging to sway diners from one restaurant to another, but a great signature item has the power to do it,” she said. 4. LOYALTY PROGRAMS LOOK TO GAMING. Loyalty programs are effective tools for driving traffic, but next year oliver predicts more restaurant operators will be integrating aspects of social gaming — offering rewards for certain actions, like referring friends or multiple visits.

the key, however, will be how well restaurant operators integrate that data and develop a more holistic analysis across all platforms.

rather than offering guests nebulous titles, like the mayors of Foursquare, oliver said restaurants will offer more tangible offline incentives for participation in loyalty games.

Most restaurants keep data in separate silos, oliver said, thinking of marketing, public relations and influencer relations as separate departments.

 5. ONE-TO-ONE ACCESSIBILITY. restaurant chefs used to stay closed in their kitchens, but the age of social media has allowed those who cook to engage with those who eat in ways that were formerly impossible.

“You need to break down those walls,” she said, and merge that information to more effectively mine insights. 2. IDENTIFYING AND ACTIvATING INFLUENCERS.  restaurant operators tend to define their customers in demographic terms, but today’s restaurant influencer is likely to defy or transcend more traditional demographic characteristics, like income level, gender or age. A powerful restaurant influencer today, for example, might be a young woman who traveled through Europe, living in bargain-rate hotels so she could spend more money on high-end restaurants. “if you looked at her on paper, she probably wouldn’t be on your list” based on demographics, said oliver. “But if you listen to her conversations, you’d realize she’s in your restaurant five times a month and spends more money” than the average diner.

in 2012, however, oliver predicts that customers will be demanding even more direct interaction with chefs, both on and offline — and not through an intermediary on the marketing team. Expect to see personal messages directly from the chef to his or her best customers informing them of menu changes, nightly specials and suggestions based on past orders, oliver said. “As chefs get more comfortable with being in the limelight and with using technology, we’ll see even more engagement,” she said. 6. COUPON PERSONALIzATION. in 2011, many restaurants experimented with social coupon sites, such as Groupon or Livingsocial, with both positive and negative results, oliver said.

those are the people who are driving restaurant recommendations these days, oliver said, and restaurants next year will be developing tools to encourage those people to spread the word about their brands. “we need to identify those folks and create programs for them so they can more easily pass along information to friends and family,” oliver said. some restaurants, for example, have used gift certificates given to specific influencers to share with friends and family members. “that’s like a third-party endorsement from someone they really trust,” oliver said. And as gift certificates become more available in digital form, restaurants can track how they’re used, who is sharing them and their impact.

One way to garner traffic: A signature item,  like Bonefish Grill's Bang Bang Shrimp

next year, oliver predicts restaurants will continue to experiment with social couponing, but they will do so with more realistic expectations. they will also look for ways to have more control, to customize the offers and to ask for more data on results. oliver said more restaurants will use their customer lists to promote such social coupons, focusing on top influencers to provide a valueadded experience and reward pass-along recommendations. More generalized coupon seekers “tend to just come for the coupon and never come back,” oliver said. “And you can’t upsell them.” 7. SEARCH LOCAL. Allocating resources to enhancing local search engine efforts is not likely to drive traffic, oliver said.

surveys by ink Foundry have found that consumers tend not to select where they dine out based on online search engine results, she said. word of mouth is far more effective, oliver said. once consumers have a recommendation from an influential friend or family member then they turn to sites like urbanspoon or Yelp to look up information. restaurants may be better off spending marketing dollars on identifying and courting those influential guests, rather than pouring dollars into local search enhancements. “You want a well-rounded approach,” oliver said. “remember, most influence happens offline.”

Restaurant Trends with Room to Grow Jan. 4, 2012

Article by stephen Loffredo

if they can make it in new York, can they make it anywhere? From sandwich shops to fried pizza, longer wine lists and more  vegetarian fare, new York-based seasoned Hospitality consulting & Management’s stephen Loffredo says a number of hot developments in the Big Apple would work elsewhere as well. He shared his insights with restaurant Hospitality. when i think about great food ideas that have real potential to become trends, i ask an important question: it might work in new York, but how well will it translate to other markets? with that in mind, here are 10 ideas from the Big Apple that have the potential to grow even bigger in 2012. 1. The Sandwich Shop: this will continue to go mainstream. As successful venues like ’wichcraft and tiny’s Giant continue to thrive and expand, the public will continue to crave more than just a basic hoagie roll, cold cuts and shredded iceberg. customers are going to look for more artisan-inspired concepts with unique breads, proteins and flavor combinations. 2. Food Trucks: this sector will continue to grow, but at a slower pace. new York, Miami and san Francisco are just a few markets where this concept has taken hold. these traveling gastronomic bastions provide value, fast service and great ethnic flavors. However, the operators are realizing that this is not the quick money they thought food trucks would be. unless the owner is working it personally or a central commissary is doing production for multiple trucks, reality can take hold. it can be hard work with slim profit margins. Governmental agencies are also continuing to crack down on permits and other required items, making their success even harder. 3. Mixology: Handcrafted, creative drinks will continue to find a place in restaurants across the country. But mixologists and operators are starting to figure out that guests don’t want to wait 15 minutes for a cocktail. there is a specific time and place for that kind of detail such as pegu club and Little Branch. Most operators will realize, perhaps the hard way, that there is a balance between execution and profit. their cocktails also have to make sense with the market and concept. 4. Wine Lists: the dining public is creating and dictating the sweet spot for contemporary wine programs. Lists will continue to become more concept-focused and tailored to the cuisine being served. Lists with 80 to 120 selections are growing more common. Most wine professionals i work with tell me $50 to $80 seems to be the threshold. this is especially true in cities where many companies have put caps on wine spending when their employees entertain. 5. The Meatball: Yep, you got it. Along with other throwback, red sauce, italian-American dishes like the chicken parmesan Hero. one only has to look at the success of torrisi italian specialties in soho and their new spin-off ‘parm’ just next door, with lines out the door every day.

the Meatball shop on new York’s lower East side regularly has onehour waits. of course, execution is everything and their products are not just run-of-the mill. torrisi prepares many of its products sous vide to bring incredible tenderness and flavor to what could otherwise be a very basic item; also, the restaurant’s packaging is brilliant. 6. vegan/vegetarian/Organic: in major markets these niches are becoming more popular. Joy pierson, owner and chef of candle 79 and candle café in new York city, says 90 percent of her guests are not strict vegans. Yet, her guests come back several times a week because they want to eat healthier. the popularity of her venues and her celebrity, high-end crowd reinforce this. whole Foods and Fresh Market have raised awareness of healthier alternatives among the general public. this will drive demand for dining options when those spenders want to eat out. the popularity of Joy’s new candle 79 cookbook has also helped spread the word. 7. Fried Pizza: i don’t mean zeppole with marinara sauce. i am referring to something really new, presented by Forcella on the Bowery in new York city. Forcella serves fantastic brick-oven pizzas. But the place also has a section of smaller, fried pizzas. these are flash-fried, then topped as ordered and finished in their brick oven. the texture is unique, light and tasty. pick-up times are super fast, and on paper the profits look great. somebody needs to jump on this one. 8. Improved Service: Hard to believe with high unemployment that poor service is still an issue in restaurants. i don’t think it is from a lack of trying. the biggest issue i see is that training costs time and money. in a bad economy this is the first expense an operator cuts. As natural employee turnover occurs, new staff is not properly trained. the typical “just trail them for three days” mentality prevails. in the long run this actually costs the operator in profit. increased employee turnover and lower guest satisfaction result. As diners watch their spending, they will continue to put their dining dollars where the food and service are excellent. 9. Social media: Facebook and twitter will continue to be important. But operators need to figure out what their guests want to hear. only a very small percentage want to hear “the chef just picked basil out back from our garden.” the general public wants to hear about a new menu item or a special offer. keep it simple and save the detail for e-newsletters. 10. Execution and better-quality ingredients: As a consultant, i continue to see great-looking venues with enthusiastic staff selling bad food. operators go out of their way to do the research, hire designers to create smart-looking operations but just don’t get the food right. A brick oven pizza in wilmington, nc, or reston, VA is not the same as one in new York, L.A. or san Francisco. As the economy rebounds and casual travel increases, the public in smaller markets will continue to expand their knowledge (and palates) and demand it. come on guys, put it on the plate!


Discovery Theme Inspires 2012 Flavor Trends January 4, 2012 Building on consumer desire for and interest in “discovery," sensient Flavors' 2012 flavor trend predictions provide food and beverage manufacturers opportunities for innovation with up-and-coming flavors inspired by multiple macro trends such as health and wellness, sensory, and comfort and connections. Sensient Flavors flavor trend predictions for 2012 are built upon three subsets of the discovery theme—“new and novel,"  “reinvention" and “combinations of flavors." Aji Amarillo—native to south America, the bright orange Aji Amarillo chile flavor offers a unique profile with medium heat and fruity notes. Black Garlic—popular in Asian cuisine, black garlic is fermented garlic that offers a sweet, syrupy flavor. Coriander—the seed of the coriander plant, coriander is native to the Middle East, southern Europe and Asia. used in a variety of cuisines and applications, coriander offers a fragrant profile with citrus and warm spice notes. Honeycrisp Apple—introduced in 1991 by the university of Minnesota breeders, the Honeycrisp apple offers a complex apple flavor profile with sweet, tart and juicy notes.


Lucuma—native to south America, the lucuma offers a uniquely sweet flavor profile with notes of maple, sweet potato and caramel. Peach Rosemary—An adventurous flavor that combines the fresh and juicy profile of peach with the earthy, piney and aromatic notes of rosemary. Pink Peppercorn—A dried berry from the Baies rose plant, the pink peppercorn offers a sweet, warm and spicy profile with earthy and citrus undertones. Plum—cultivated throughout the world, plum offers a sweet, tart and juicy profile. Spicy Caramel—A twist on the classic caramel profile, spicy caramel offers subtle spice and heat notes in combination with the sweet brown profile of caramel. varietal vanilla—sourced from the three main vanilla plant varieties used for extraction, vanilla profiles from different growing regions such as Madagascar, Mexico, indonesia, india and tahiti offer subtle nuances on the classic vanilla profile.

2012 Food and Beverage Trends dec. 2, 2011

consumer concerns about health and wellness, coupled with a continued uncertain economic future, will set the stage for ongoing food and beverage trends to be stretched to their full potential in 2012 as both industry and consumers tighten their belts on spending and investments, according to new market research from Leatherhead Food research. check out the following 10 food and beverage trends predicted to make an impact in 2012: 1. Health and Wellness. key priorities for companies include the continued efforts to meet guidelines on the reduction of salt, fat and sugar, as well as the active promotion of health benefits on products ranging from “one of your five a day" to more niche areas as the inclusion of functional ingredients. 2. Sustainability. there is a continued focus from companies on issues of sustainability and this is likely to be an influential trend for many years to come as companies work to streamline their practices and supply chains into more sustainable operations. this encompasses a whole range of issues, including packaging-reduction initiatives, more ethical sourcing policies, reduction of food miles and more. 4. Convenience. while we’re engaging with food more than ever, our busy, chaotic lifestyles simply will not allow elaborate home-cooked meals during the work week. the development of new “ready meal" concepts in the form of meal kits and premium offerings also ensure that choice and quality of prepared meals are like never before.

7. Ongoing Demand for Natural. while the hype around the natural trend has dampened slightly, the effects are ongoing particularly as larger multinationals weigh up the cost/benefit of switching to natural components such as colors and flavors. However, companies need to consider issues such as the sustainability of supply as well as the longevity of consumer demand in their particular product area (e.g. those product categories with inherent natural associations are likely to remain in demand). 8. Budget-Conscious Want Affordable Luxuries. unrelenting pressure on household budgets will see retailers continue to flex their “value for money" credentials; therefore, manufacturers will continue their efforts to seek cost-effective solutions. conversely, food is seen as an affordable luxury and, therefore, lucrative opportunities do exist in the form of “staying in" solutions, such as meal kits, and more premium offerings. 9. Quality Linked to Location. consumers are more keenly aware of where their foods are produced and sourced and this will continue to impact the food and beverage market in two ways. First, the demand toward locally produced and locally sourced fresh food, including meat, vegetables, fruit, cheese, etc. will continue into 2012. the restaurant industry is seeing activities such as foraging and sourcing of specialty ingredients grow exponentially as chefs seek to differentiate their menus. second, more exotic ingredients such as Madagascan vanilla also will benefit from an overt provenance message. the clear message is that location helps to give consumers a distinct impression of the product’s quality.

5. Flavor Solutions. compensating for lower levels of salt, fat and/or sugar will continue to increase the need for more flavorful solutions. combinations of herbs, spices and other strong flavors will provide a flavorful backdrop to many products. think of ingredient combinations such as lemongrass, garlic and ginger or the use of seaweed as a salt enhancer. Also look for more adventurous and “premium" flavor combinations like lavender in dark chocolate.

10. Over 55 and Fitter Than Ever. Longer working lives and a strong interest in maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle is leading to the creation of more products tailored to the specific needs and wants of these consumers. Health benefits will be at the forefront of the market and this will be a key area of development for the functional ingredients market in particular.

6. “Free From" Foods Market. there is a growing number of consumers who do not have a diagnosed food allergy but believe their general health improves with the omission of certain foodstuffs from their diet. this presents an opportunity for both mainstream manufacturers to highlight additional product benefits as well as allowing the traditional “free from" brands to break the niche mold within which they’ve traditionally operated.

11. Softer Claims. the ever-changing regulatory environment is having a strong impact on the way manufacturers are positioning their products. For example, EFsA regulations have taken the shine off the functional health market and the cost/benefit tradeoff of substantiated EFsA claims is unlikely to provide a strong competitive edge in most cases. instead, manufacturers will continue to seek out a softer approach to deliver key messages to their consumers.


2012 Food Trends Will Make Meals Pop From Beginning to End

december 21, 2011 article by tricia smith

when thinking about the trends that will be hot for food in the coming year, it can be easy to focus on entrées and forget about the dishes that come before and after the main event. i touched base with foodservice professionals at technomic and Mintel to get their takes on how upcoming food trends will influence appetizers and desserts. Simple starters will put an emphasis on flavor.  “we are expecting operators to offer simple preparations of fresh ingredients — more rustic fare. where appetizers are concerned, this might mean bruschettas or topped flatbreads, where some of the flavor comes from the cooking method (grilled or wood-fired, perhaps); skewered meats with an interesting sauce or salsa; or simply dressed salads made with seasonal produce,” technomic Vice president Joe pawlak said. Classic foods will step out of their comfort zone.  tried-and-true foods won’t leave the menu, but different interpretations can turn comfort foods into fun starters that are easy to share. “twists include use of an unexpected ingredient or ethnic influence. … Meatballs are appearing on a lot of menus — and would make a fun and sharable appetizer. And consider all that can be done with an appetizer pizza. Likewise, mini burgers can be topped with teriyaki, guacamole, jerk spices, etc. dips and sauces are an easy way to put an interesting spin on a typical appetizer like chips and salsa, chicken fingers, etc.,” pawlak said.

so, while the form may stay constant, like cake or ice cream, the flavor is going to be reflective of ethnic influences,” said Eric Giandelone, director of research for Mintel. if chefs are worried about offering something too adventurous for their typical diner, Giandelone said, “using these ingredients and flavors in traditional forms is a way to build upon the familiar and still reflect consumers’ growing interest in ethnic food.” pawlak agrees that trying out new flavors can pay off. “it’s worth noting that consumers are often willing to try an unusual ingredient or preparation as an appetizer, because it’s less of a commitment than ordering something they may or may not like as their entrée.” Desserts don’t have to be saved for last. diners will continue to look for ways to cut cost in the coming year, and Giandelone said offering desserts as more than just an after-dinner option can help persuade customers to treat themselves. “For many restaurants, the dessert menu section is poorly positioned to adapt to changing spend habits. But it’s a fairly straightforward fix. dessert options can and should be positioned as snacks. this is certainly easier to accomplish in quickservice, but even full service can act on this. otherwise, with cash-strapped consumers, the other option for operators is discounting or ‘including with purchase.’ repositioning dessert as appropriate for all times of day can get away from frugality that comes at the end of a meal,” he said.

Desserts will also get a flavor makeover while  staying close to their traditional form. “in many ways, ethnic food will influence dessert flavors more than the desserts themselves, if that makes sense.

Salty Caramel Tops 2012 Flavor Trends List

december 19, 2011

Bell Flavors and Fragrances released its list of the top 10 flavor trends for 2012, noting that salty caramel flavor will have the most impact on food and beverage products this in the coming year. “Emerging cultures" is the theme for the 2012 top 10 Flavors list, with korean cuisines predicted to make a huge hit to the market with cajun and Greek following close behind. compiled using three methods—tracking flavor-sample requests, worldwide trend scouting, and tracking trends from external databases—the list is divided into three categories: sweet Flavors, savory Flavors and Beverage Flavors. sweet Flavors encompass confectionery, bakery and dairy; savory flavors include the meat, condiments, dressings, sauces, soups


and seasoning markets; and beverage flavors include both the non-alcoholic and alcoholic markets. in the sweet flavor category, the list includes salty caramel, red velvet, strawberry jasmine, cinnamon chipolte, eucalyptus, taro/sweet potato, roasted coconut, café de olla, lúcuma and white sesame. For savory applications, the list includes white truffle oil, kimchi, absinthe, calamansi lime, rich umami, rose water, aged cayenne pepper, satsuma orange, mirin and romesco. Beverage flavors include lemonade, maqui berry, aloe vera, white tea, mamey, cucumber mint, chrysanthemum, kumquat, honey ginger and green coconut.

Top 10 Restaurant Dining Trends for 2012

Just in time for the new Year, opentable surveyed its restaurateur partners and Vip diners (who have honored 12 or more opentable reservations within the past year) to determine what the top 10 dining trends for 2012 will be. Here are the fascinating findings: 1. SUSTAINABLY-SOURCED INGREDIENTS:  86 percent of diners think sustainable food is important, and 76 percent of restaurant owners already have it on the menu, while another 10 percent say they'll add sustainably-sourced ingredients in the next year. 2. SMALLER PORTIONS:  72 percent of diners appreciate smaller portion sizes and nearly one in five (18 percent) of restaurants have reduced their dish sizes in the past year, with another 7 percent planning to do so in 2012. 3. vEGGIE DESSERTS:  Although 68 percent of diners are interested in desserts that incorporate vegetables, only 25 percent of restaurant owners offer them, although 7 percent plan to add that menu item in 2012. 4. MENU NARRATIvES:  nearly nine in 10 diners (86 percent) want to hear the backstory on menu items, and almost half of restaurateurs are happy to share. 5. SPICE OF LIFE:  85 percent of diners love spicy food (in fact, 33 percent say dishes are never hot enough!) and more than 1/3 of restaurants

(38 percent) have introduced spicier offerings in the past year, with an additional 7 percent making plans to do so in 2012. 6. MOBILE TECHNOLOGY:  More than 2/3 of diners (67 percent) are all for adding technology to the dining experience (ipad menus, anyone?), and nearly one in five restaurateurs (18 percent) plan to do so in the next year. 7. BREAD UPON REQUEST:  nearly 1/3 of restaurants (32 percent) provide bread only upon request these days, even though 61 percent of patrons say they’d prefer to have bread on the table without asking. 8. FINE-DINING BURGERS:  three out of four diners (73 percent) like seeing fancy burgers on the fine-dining menu, but only half of restaurateurs (51 percent) have any interest in offering them. 9. BREAKFAST ALL DAY:  diners and restaurateurs agree to disagree when it comes to breakfast items on lunch and dinner menus—83 percent of diners want to see it, but 58 percent of restaurant owners have no plans to indulge them. 10. ALL IN THE FAMILY:  three in four restaurateurs say they’re fine with children at their eateries; however, 2 out of 3 diners said they’re not fans of dining out near mini-foodies.


A food writer’s top menu trends for 2012 From pistachios to bananas Foster, NRN senior food editor Bret Thorn picks top culinary trends for the year ahead dec. 22, 2011

by Bret thorn

American consumers are no longer eating like they’re in crisis mode, as they get used to the new normal of economic uncertainty. Although generally cautious about spending money, consumers will splurge if they perceive value in their purchases, as illustrated by marked increases in champagne and cognac sales this year. if 2012 is anything like 2011, restaurants will focus on three types of dining occasions. they’ll offer inexpensive foods for guests who want something quick and easy, such as what Mimi’s, Applebee’s, olive Garden, and Brinker concepts chili’s and Maggiano’s did in 2011. they’ll sell more healthful items for the growing segment of the population that watches what it eats, at least some of the time. Many, possibly most, chains did that over the past year, including Mcdonald’s and the cheesecake Factory. And they’ll also offer items for splurging — on either calories or money — for when the occasion warrants it. denny’s did that with its indulgent Baconalia menu this past spring. And wendy’s, Arby’s and Burger king all did it in 2011 with new premium sandwiches. those trends will continue in 2012. Below are some other trends to look for in the coming year.

marketed pomegranates over the past decade also has major financial interests in pistachios and has turned its attention to the nuts. the planned marketing strategy, targeting men, will play on the results of recent studies indicating that pistachios might improve erectile function. 2. SHAKE SHOTS. this is the logical next step in the mini-dessert trend: four-ounce milk shakes, about 200 calories each, probably priced at around $2. they would be an easy, low-guilt, semi-indulgent mealtime upsell, mid-morning snack or 4 p.m. pick-me-up. they also would be portable, and strike a nostalgia chord with the many consumers looking for retro items. 3. BANANAS FOSTER. sautéed bananas, brown sugar and rum with vanilla ice cream. delicious, retro and a component in a growing number of desserts these days. A big syrup company just released bananas Foster syrup, indicating that we’re going to see a lot more of this particular combination of flavors. 4. MORE LOCAL THAN YOU. Lots of independent restaurants have their own gardens, some have their own farms and at least one has its own herd of cattle. keep an eye out for proprietary oyster beds and more heirloom plants and heritage breeds of domestic animals — whatever a restaurant can do to set itself apart.

1. PISTACHIOS. consumers are looking for ingredients that are exotic without being threatening. there’s nothing threatening about a pistachio, but we haven’t seen much of it on menus lately.

5. CHAINS CAN BE LOCAL, TOO. chain restaurants will continue to get onboard with local foods when they can. regional chains — such as Eat’n park, based in pittsburgh, and Burgerville in the pacific northwest — have been doing this for a while. nationally, chipotle has taken the lead with its commitment to buy local produce when it can.

tcBY got clear indications that this nut was ready for a comeback when the frozen yogurt chain tested pistachio yogurt earlier this year. it did so well that they’re bringing it back as a core item in 2012. on top of all of that, the same family that owns and successfully

other chains also are getting creative in strategies for going local. denver-based smashburger develops hamburgers and sometimes hot dogs in each market it enters, often using local ingredients and certainly trying to appeal to local tastes. they also try to offer local beer.

pistachios pad thai pigs Ears Bananas Foster


Trends on the Way Out

we’ll also see more locally made spirits on menus. Local wines, however — with notable exceptions mostly on the west coast — will probably remain absent from most restaurant lists. customers interested in local wines know how much they cost at retail and will mostly be uninterested in paying the markup necessary for a restaurant to make profit from them. Many sommeliers also consider most local wines to be overpriced. 6. NOT LOCAL, BUT INTERESTING. there might be one or two restaurants in the country that genuinely don’t use any ingredient that’s not from more than a stone’s throw away, but all the others choose to make use of the global distribution system, and their customers want to know why. in 2012, restaurateurs will become even more adept at telling their ingredients’ stories. Even Mcdonald’s is doing that now. 7. ASIAN CUISINES GET EvEN MORE MAINSTREAM. thai cuisine hit the big time in 2011 when Mcdonald’s added sweet chili sauce as a dipping option for chicken Mcnuggets. indian food is getting a stronger foothold at chain restaurants, as uno chicago Grill continues to find new uses for its tikka masala sauce. korean food, too, has expanded beyond ethnic restaurants and Los Angeles taco trucks as non-korean chefs find new uses for kimchi and gojuchang. this past autumn, Manhattan power-lunch venue Michael’s introduced a new cocktail program and, to go with it, a korean bar bites menu developed by Michael’s executive chef kyung up Lim. the popularity of Asian cuisines will likely accelerate in 2012 as consumers become more familiar with them. 8. MANUFACTURING IN FINE-DINING RESTAURANTS.  the technological revolution in fine-dining kitchens that used to be called molecular gastronomy has become well established. immersion circulators are now so widespread at high-end restaurants that some executive chefs are despairing that their cooks can’t actually cook by conventional means anymore. some, in an attempt to maintain tradition, refuse to let their cooks go near the circulator, dehydrator, centrifuge or distiller until they have mastered the classical basics. others acknowledge that the newly popular techniques allow them to make better food. if that means their cooks don’t know how to sauté, so be it. Food in fine dining will likely get better in 2012, but cooks might actually become less skilled. 9. COOKING AT CHAIN RESTAURANTS. Meanwhile, at the chain restaurants, some of the corporate chefs responsible for developing menu items that can be recreated in hundreds or thousands of venues have noticed that many of the cooks working in their restaurants are quite skilled: they work multiple jobs, taking shifts at steakhouses and independent restaurants when not heating and plating food at casual-dining chains. Article by rachel Zemser Jan 5, 2012

ON THE WAY OUT Whoopie pies  

HOT! HOT! HOT! Savory pies

Kitchy '50s retro food       Updated retro food Homestyle comfort            Artisanal comfort Imported booze                   House-made spirits Overnighted from Japan

Locally raised on the roof of restaurant

Filet mignon

Noses and Tails

White tablecloth French biker dude fine French cuisine            making tarte tatin on the back of a motorcycle

Foam, air, and  xantham gum


Rice & Potatoes

Ancient Grains

Foods with HFCS

Foods with Sugar

White tablecloth

No tablecloth


Handmade Soft Drinks


Coconut Water



Low-carb diet

Paleo diet

Ginseng & Ginkgo Biloba

Cinnamon, pepper, cayenne & turmeric

Cooked Raw Molecular gastronomy        Ancient techniques & modern methods            (fermentation, smoking pickling, curing) Common



Bacon fat

Nameless, faceless manufactured food

Products with a human story on the label

the intrepid culinologist, aka rachel Zemser, ccs, travels the world in search of food-related industry trade shows, media and press events, and "local" Bay Area experiences, trying to figure a way to bridge her two worlds and bring great food to the masses. she has a B.s. and M.s. in Food science, a culinary Arts degree, and almost 15 years of food-industry experiece.

Foodservice Trend Report 2012

by BriAnnE BinELLi

A nutritionist and a panel of operators, representing a range of foodservice industry segments, discuss current food trends. It’s no secret, local food is a trend that’s here to stay,  but is it always the most viable option? Michael Bonacini: the idea of sourcing locally is becoming more talked about and a preferred way of working with suppliers…. it’s easy to buy into the romance, but the reality is not without challenges due to pricing, consistency, and the simple fact that there are not enough local growers, purveyors and artisans to support the restaurant scene of a large cosmopolitan city. there’s only so much bottling and preserving one can do, so we will have to continue to supplement with products that come from afar. Chris Mills: when able, i suggest sourcing locally, getting to know farmers and other suppliers in areas close to you to understand where products come from and getting to know some of the fantastic food suppliers our canadian cities have. we work with Bellmann family farm in Armstrong to provide vegetables to our restaurants in B.c. and Alberta during the spring through fall and use similar farms for our toronto- and seattle-area restaurants. during the winter, we work closely with our distributor to ensure we get the best quality produce. we also use local cheese and meat suppliers for our cheese and charcuterie plates. Aside from the local-food movement, what are some popular food trends? Bonacini: the popularity of seafood ranks highly on our menus. the demand continues to grow, i think, because most home cooks are uncomfortable cooking fish and shellfish. red meat has been, and i think will always be, a big part of the restaurant scene. Great barbecue is growing in popularity, as are restaurants that make ribs the old-fashioned way — long and slow. [Another] great trend, if you can call it that, is the concept of snout to tail. using the entire animal, of course, goes back to a more traditional and sustainable way of looking at food. Charcuterie continues to grow in popularity; same for the gourmet burger scene. cheese boards and cheese courses remain a solid part of dining culture, with a focus on not only wine but beer pairings.

there’s a big push right now for restaurants that feature artisanal food, whether it is Berkshire pork, local duck, foraged ingredients or roasting your own coffee beans. At o&B, many of our restaurants feature fresh pasta, and we now make much of our own bread at our own bakery, o&B Artisan. we also sell our own hand-made chocolate at our o&B Artisan shop [in toronto]. Mills: we have seen our sushi items continue to gain popularity; our rainbow roll and sushi cones specifically. these items are made in-house and rolled to order. As these dishes are meant to start and share, we saw the demand to incorporate the sushi into a main entrée that could be enjoyed at lunch or dinner and introduced the steak and sushi, tataki-style steam served with our rainbow roll — it’s our version of steak and sushi.  At Montana’s, we are seeing tremendous success behind our focus [on] grilled meats. Generally speaking, what are other notable trends on the  restaurant scene? Bonacini: we are going to see more restaurants open that are smaller in size, that are chef-centric, and that are identified by a unique style or unique content, whether it’s tapas or pan-Asian cuisine. the consumer is looking for that balance of upper-end casual that is serious about food and wine, serious about customer service and style, but without attitude…. our newest location, Bannock, serves what we’ve termed canadian comfort food. this is really tapping into something canadians desire. Robinson: some of the trends we are focused on are health and  wellness, mainstream ethnic and simplicity. with the focus on health and wellness in the industry today, it is important to offer our guest healthier menu offerings such as gluten-free products, sodiumconscious offerings and lower calorie menu items. with mainstream ethnic flavours gaining popularity in the market, we are finding unique ways to incorporate ethnic flavours like korean barbecue and thai szechuan sauce into some of our new menu offerings. our culinary team is [also] creating simple dishes that focus on the basics of cooking. simple products that incorporate simple flavours create fresh and tasty menu options.

A cheese board or fruit and cheese course can  straddle many hot trends at once: • Local/Sustainable • International/Ethnic • Gourmet/Artisanal • Pairable with both Beer and Wine


Has your pricing changed with the economy? How are you   offering better value? Bonacini: the last thing we want to do in an economic slump is cut pricing. we look at engineering our menus so we can  control costs and provide increased value. Because of the range of restaurants in our portfolio, we can offer options for à la carte dining and private events. Mills: our pricing strategy hasn’t necessarily changed. we have however looked hard at menu engineering and product sourcing. [so] if we can capture savings and pass that on to our guests, we will. Robinson: this recession was accompanied by wild swings in the commodity market on the upside. rising costs on both food inputs and labour have put the squeeze on margins, and we have been slower to raise prices than what we would have ideally liked. we have put a lot of effort in reducing waste, food and/or labor. Diners are looking for less sodium, nutritional details and less sugar in their food. Which of these issues is demanding the most attention in foodservice? Katie Jessop: we know canadians are consuming too much salt — about 3,400 mg a day when they should be lower than 2,300 mg, and 77 per cent of this salt comes from processed and restaurant foods. industry has an important role to play in this public health issue by reducing sodium in their offerings. nutrition labelling also has some traction.

Robinson: we are supportive of reducing sodium and have been working to reduce sodium in our recipes. we are doing this gradually. we need to have a balance for those who want to indulge and those who watch what they eat. How are operators appealing to the customer call for healthier fare? Jessop: restaurants meeting customer demand for healthier fare are working with their suppliers to reformulate key ingredients and staple foods to reduce sodium; cutting fat and using healthy cooking methods; offering nutrition information at point-of-purchase and offering options for reduced portion sizes. Many are offering only one component, be it local or low-sodium.

katie Jessop, rd, Heart & stroke Foundation, Health check; chef Michael Bonacini, partner, oliver & Bonacini restaurants, parent company of Bannock, Luma, o&B canteen, Biff’s Bistro, canoe, Jump restaurant, Auberge du pommier, oliver & Bonacini café Grill and other private-dining facilities; chef chris Mills, executive chef, Joey restaurant Group; don robinson, president and cEo, cara operations Ltd., parent company of swiss chalet, Milestones Grill Bar, Montana’s cookhouse, kelsey’s and Harvey’s

the u.s. Food and drug Administration published proposed regulations in April 2011, which are to be finalized in early 2012 after public consultation. the cornerstone of the proposed regs is calorie posting on menus, menu boards and drive-thru boards. pundits in canada immediately began wondering when we would see similar legislation. watch for a greater focus on sugar. You may be seeing it already in the grocery aisles in reduced sugar cereals or children’s products. Foodservice operators who are playing to consumers’ sweet tooth can offer naturally sweetened foods and beverages using 100-per-cent fruit juice, real fruit purées and high-quality chocolate.


Hottest Food and Dining Trends for 2012 to read all 16 Hottest trends, download the entire annual report free at THE WHOLE WORLD ON A PLATE Look for excitement at the lower end of the market where devilmay-care entrepreneurs are piling flavors from all over the globe onto a single dish. Gastronomically, everything goes. Bite into a sandwich of chipotle pork chop with burnt sugar glaze, carrot kimchee and tarragon mayonnaise, and your taste buds will announce that these flavors came from a global Mixmaster. this is what’s emerging: A multi-ethnic, multi-sensory dining experience where flavors clash on purpose. A multi-culti zucchini pizza dabbed with hummus and topped with crunchy wasabi peas is from nowhere geographically because it is from everywhere. we can seal our southern border but it won’t stop folks from stuffing tacos and tortillas with outlandish things like octopus and feta cheese, or with barbecued chicken gizzards and sriracha slaw. And any day now, someone will stuff a porchetta with bulgogi seasonings. cooking is at a crossroads ... where everything collides! It’s mostly happening at eateries where food is cheap because the risk is low for both buyers and sellers. Your wallet can’t get hurt by a bibimbap burger from a food truck if it only costs four bucks, right? or fried sushi filled with a cheeseburger? the banh mi, our sandwich-of-the-Year in 2011, is now an object of much tinkering around the country; it is a feature on steve El’s new Asian shopHouse prototype, too. Sandwiches are the big focus  of this mix-match trend. there’s an over-the-top thrill about a sandwich filled with carnitas, sausage, jalapeño, an egg over easy, and a hot dog with cilantro aioli from roadside shack. the wilder, the better. After all, if your new car’s parts come from around the world, why shouldn’t your sandwich ingredients? next up: Mexican tortas and cemitas. A WIDENING “FLAvOR GAP” the menu items discussed above contain ingredients and multiethnic combinations that are alien to your local panera Bread or pizza Hut or even Five Guys -- because chains’ financial stakes are so high, they’re compelled to serve the fewest number of items to the greatest number of people. Savvy independent operators (most of them young) use this growing “flavor gap” to help  differentiate themselves from more staid corporate competitors.

FORGET SKYSCRAPER ARCHITECTURE chefs are shifting from stacking food as high as possible to stringing out ingredients in caterpillar-like lines along oblong or rectangular plates. this may looking like “dribble art” but it keeps the flavors separated. ceviches, tartars, sushi and sashimi primarily, with salads as the next frontier. Above, korean steak tartare with Asian pear, quail egg and pine nuts from dandi in new York (photo, paul Goguen/Bloomberg)

INSTEAD OF BREAD stretching for even more differentiation, look for sandwiches piled on things other than bread. Arepas, for example. Flattened tostones. Bao. waffles. rice cakes. think of kFc’s notorious double down calorie bomb, but with more inventive ingredients. NO, EvERYONE’S NOT BROKE About a quarter of America’s population is still happily working and another large chunk has a bit less – but not nothing – to spend, and after deep psychological retrenchment they’ll be returning to restaurant life. they’re not burning money, but they’re still having fun spending. And when they do, they’re seeking fun, interesting food and a sense of adventure. From this, we see the following: COMFORT FOOD HITS THE WALL when the recession hit three years ago, Americans gravitated to “crisis food”: homey roast chicken, soothing meat loaf, voluptuous mac-andcheese, unchallenging sushi, and the Holy cheeseburger. now we’re bored by gastro-nostalgia. Instead, we’re demanding  new taste thrills and culinary invention.  Mac-and-cheese is being reworked with pork rillettes, or with chicharrones for crunch and braised pork necks for depth; or it is being stuffed into sandwiches along with fried chicken or chicken-fried steak. classic fettuccine recipes are twisted with Asian Bolognese; pasta carbonara, already much abused, now comes with meatballs, with snails and with chorizos, and now shrimp-and-grits is getting worked over. there’s no limit to what people will slap onto hamburgers (head cheese, bone marrow, pastrami-and-eggs, cajun crawfish) as new entrants to the “gourmet burger” biz fall over themselves being creative. sushi’s getting stuffed with mutli-culti ingredients. plain old roast chicken’s giving way to goosed-up fried renditions -- highly spicy, highly crisp korean fried chicken being the most evident, but Latino flavors are being grafted on as well. Guacamole is being spiked with wasabi paste. Hummus comes in a dozen or more flavors. And meatloaf has taken a dive as customers opt for all manner of meatballs at twice the price. EARLY DRINKING, LATE NIGHT DINING people making sales and service calls, and supervisory staff, are spending more time in their cars, so they’re shifting social times to cocktails at four and dinner at ten. that’s because they’ve only chatted and texted with colleagues also scattered on the highways, and 4 p.m is a logical time to rendezvous somewhere, unwind with a cocktail and maybe have lunch that was missed earlier. Hotels are big beneficiaries and they’ll be upscaling drink lists, bar food and furnishings. road warriors, and late-working desk jockeys get a second wind long after dark, congregating in better restaurants’ bars and hotels that are now revving up flavors and presentations, but still pricing things so that they are “affordable luxuries.” ROUND THINGS THAT GO POP IN THE MOUTH kimchee-and-parmesan-filled arancini, fried goat cheese balls, spherical falafel, meat balls of all kinds, bacalao croquettes, crispy oxtail risotto balls – all of them dropped briefly in the fryer and served with multi-ethnic sauces and dips – are becoming hot-hot sharable bar food. they’re contemporary, drink-friendly finger food and no one seems to mind the calories. Also: mini sandwiches with banh mi flavors, korean meatball sliders, all sorts of global chicken lollypops, ceviches, flatbreads from everywhere, dishes with fried green tomatoes (see “the world on a plate”). next: smart chefs explore the world of Japanese snacky things.

Flavor Forecast 2012 January 10, 2012 the Mccormick® Flavor Forecast® Goes Global for First time in its 12-Year History. For this milestone report, an international group of Mccormick experts—including chefs, sensory scientists, trend trackers, marketing experts and food technologists—collaborated to identify global trends that will continue to shape the future of flavor.

The six globally relevant trends are brought to life through 12 regional flavor combinations:

TREND Honoring roots

FLAvOR COMBINATION 1. Cumin with Sofrito Authentic Hispanic foundational flavors.

chefs inspired by foundational flavors are finding a way to balance modern flair with cultural authenticity.

2. Korean Pepper Paste with Sesame, Asian Pear & Garlic BBQ with a global twist.

Quest for the ultimate

3. Dill with Mint, Melon & Cucumber the ultimate refresher.

Flavor fanatics searching for the ultimate taste experience through quality ingredients, flavors and textures.

Veggies in Vogue Fresh, seasonal veggies are dressed to impress with new cooking techniques and inventive bursts of flavor.

simplicity shines clear, unpretentious flavors are an approachable celebration of the basics. A move away from complexity and flash.

Flavorful swaps Balancing bold flavor with hunger for health is key to achieving wellness goals without sacrificing enjoyment.

no Boundaries Blending inspirations and shedding the confines of traditional “rules” equals a renewed permission to have fun.

4. Meyer Lemon with Lemon Thyme, Limoncello  & Lemon Peel the ultimate lemon. 5. Eggplant with Honey & Harissa worldly veggie with sweet heat. 6. Squash with Red Curry & Pancetta Versatile veggie with a touch of thai. 7. Ginger with Coconut warm spice joins tropical favorite. 8. vanilla with Butter pure essentials for real goodness. 9. Red Tea with Cinnamon & Plum Better-for-you beverage meets fruit and spice. 10. Grapefruit with Red Pepper A new take on lemon pepper. 11. Sweet Soy with Tamarind & Black Pepper steak sauce with an Asian flair. 12. Blueberry with Cardamom & Corn Masa From everyday to extraordinary.


Top 10 Food Trends for 2012 As 2011 sunsets into history, it's time to reflect on the major food trends we see emerging in 2012. As we've done for 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011, our editors compiled culinary forecasts, divided into Front Burner (trends you'll likely see dominate) and Back Burner (those things whose popularity has peaked).

1. RESTAURANTS Front Burner: The Return of Hotel Dining  the big boys are back in the hotel kitchen, again. After years of chefs leaving large and often mediocre hotel dining rooms to open up small, casual standalone spaces, high-quality hotel dining has returned with a vengeance: José Andrés was among the heavyweights to head back with his BAZAAr at the sLs Hotel in Beverly Hills; April Bloomfield opened the Breslin at new York's Ace Hotel; and Heston Blumenthal followed with dinner at the Mandarin oriental in London. dr. Miguel sáchez romera brought new luxury to Manhattan's dream downtown hotel. we expect more collaborations in the year to come from the likes of daniel Humm, charlie palmer, and daniel Boulud. Back Burner: Pop-Up Restaurants  it seemed like everybody, including the James Beard Foundation, got into pop-up restaurants this year, but with Grant Achatz's nEXt taking the pop-up concept to a permanent space, we think this trend has peaked.

2. DISH Front Burner: Fin-to-Tail Eating  if you really want to take snout-to-tail to the next level, look to the lakes and seas. More and more restaurants are adding whole fish entrées to their menu, and Zak pelaccio and Marc Forgione are among the chefs who've taken to frying their fish bones and serving them to guests. Back Burner: Lobster Rolls  once the jewel of secret underground restaurants and new England vacations, the expensive lobster roll can now be found in food trucks off-season and sporting arenas. Let the crustacean backlash begin.

22 dec. 2, 2011 by sara Bonisteel

3. FOOD CITY Front Burner: Singapore  one of the tastiest cities on Earth (thanks in large part to its food courts, whose multiethnic offerings border on flavorful insanity), singapore is the place to eat in 2012. the nation has more fine-dining restaurants per resident than any other country on earth, according to the wall street Journal, and daniel Boulud is among the most recent chefs who've added their mark to the island's culinary map. Back Burner: Brooklyn  new York's coolest borough will always hold a place in our heart, but it's attracting overpriced and overhyped restaurants along with its new higher-income residents.

4. LIQUOR Front Burner: "Moonshine"  drinking un-aged whiskey out of a label-less bottle seems so Boardwalk Empire cool. we love these burning white spirits, but if you have a liquor license and are paying taxes on the hooch you're distilling, please don't call it 'shine. it's white dog or corn whiskey. Let's leave the moniker to those brave souls who make it illegally in a mountain still under the light of a silvery moon. Back Burner: Celebrity vodkas  when kanye west's ex Amber rose becomes the spokesmodel for marshmallow-flavored vodka, and J woww shills for svedka, you know the traditional choice for impresarios and moguls is down on its luck.

5. DIET Front Burner: Happy Diet  Eating healthy shouldn't make you sad. that's why we're excited about dr. drew ramsey and tyler Graham's Happiness diet, focusing on foods designed to boost your mood And shrink your belly. Back Burner: Wheat Belly  cardiologist dr. william davis's best-selling diet book advocates a wheat-free approach to eating that's akin to gluten-free living. while those with celiac should always go gluten free, the remaining 97% of us who don't have this serious disease should remember avoiding wheat means a likely deficit of fiber, protein, and added vitamins in our daily diet.



Front Burner: High-End Indian  with chef Hemant Mathur's tulsi getting a Michelin star this year, haute indian dining in America is finally getting some recognition. Look for more delicious things to come from top end indian restaurants like rasika in washington d.c. and san Francisco's Amber india.

Front Burner: Fried Sweet Dough  when you take something sweet and fry it, you'll always have a winner. we're not advocating for state Fair fare, mind you, but churros (preferably with cajeta on the side), beignets, and koeksisters are a killer ending for a meal.

Back Burner: High-End Korean  we'll still splurge on fancy korean barbecue and hot pots in hot rocks, but bulgogi was so 2011, and we don't need it to be fused with every other cuisine on the planet.

Back Burner: Mini Desserts  this year saw the rise of the miniaturized cannoli, doughnut, popsicle, and macaron, but we quickly forget these tiny treats have long held sway at dunkin' donuts and whole Foods. this trend should have vanished two bites ago.



Front Burner: Fennel Pollen  the latest in rare, must-have ingredients for chefs? An italian favorite: fennel pollen. while Mario Batali extols its virtues, chefs far and wide are finding inventive uses for it, including canlis in seattle, where the powder dusts snapper sashimi. where to get it? try the pollen ranch.

Front Burner: Cheesemaker  cheesemongers like Anne saxelby have helped Americans understand why artisan cheese is a delicious, good-for-the-earth slow food. Heck, our pipe dream has always been to open a cheese farm in new England. it seems many new food professionals will beat us to it.

Back Burner: Edible Dirt  remember when edible dirt was just a crushed oreo atop chocolate pudding and gummy worms? A few years ago, this year's it chef, rene redzepi elevated edible dirt to a fine-dining centerpiece. it seems everyone is now calling coffee grounds, crushed cardamom, pulverized olives, and the like, “dirt.” it's time to relegate these crumbs back to where they belong: on grade-school birthday treats.

Back Burner: Mixologist  we'll always love our bespoke cocktillians, but they've saturated the bar market with esoteric and sometimes silly drinks.

8. COOKING AT HOME  Front Burner: Homemade Dairy  You can gauge the next big homestead cooking project on the horizon by the how-to cookbooks that precede it. this year, a slew of homemade dairy books made their debut, meaning it's only a few more months until all your friends are trading homemade yogurts, fresh cheeses, and butters. Back Burner: Pig Roasts  Everybody loves their whole-hog barbecue, their La caja china cuban roasters, and Hawaiian pig roasts, but it's just not practical to do it in your yard. Leave it to the professionals and go make some cheese.


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Food Trends 2012 - Generic - Final  

Collection of Food Trend predictions for 2012.

Food Trends 2012 - Generic - Final  

Collection of Food Trend predictions for 2012.