A forecast of the top 10 foodservice trends for the upcoming year includes less beef on the menu as prices continue higher, replaced by pork and poultry. The firm also expects each restaurant’s morals and values to play a larger role.
The list by Technomic, a foodservice research and consulting firm, was based on restaurant visits across the country, data analysis and interviews and surveys with operators, chefs and consumers.
Many recipes with beef will be replaced by less expensive alternatives as restaurants attract consumers by keeping prices down. Technomic says the real protein star of 2014 will be pork with menu items ranging from barbecue to ethnic items.
More unique proteins are expected to make an appearance next year with an increase in lamb and game meats, including duck and bison.
In the past, foodservice companies have attracted or negated business based on the views of the company and high-ranking executives within the company. Past examples include Chick-fil-A and Chipotle. Technomic says that trend will advance next year as consumers become more aware of each restaurant’s culture and support those matching views with their own.
“Consumers are increasingly aware that the personal is political—that their choices and those of the restaurants they patronize regarding food, treatment of employees and suppliers, sustainability and the environment have real consequences. Consciously or unconsciously, they will gravitate to concepts that share their worldview, and some restaurants will promote this cultural identification.”
Restaurants are also expected to cater to consumers’ heightened interest in the ingredients and methods used to prepare their food. While restaurants are already putting an emphasis on local and sustainable ingredients, restaurants claiming to prepare meals in a “traditional” or “authentic” manner are expected to follow through on those practices.
Other trends for 2014 include more snack options, breakfast, lunch and dinner items available at anytime of the day and custom orders taken via smartphones and tablets.