Just as consumers are clamoring for the latest and greatest in industries such as technology, automobiles, home appliances, and electronics, they are also looking for newer and more interesting things to eat. In order to predict what’s going to be hot (and what’s not) for this year, the National Restaurant Association conducted a survey of about 1,300 chef organizations across the United States. The survey is called “What’s Hot in 2014 Culinary Forecast”. All of these organizations are members of the American Culinary Federation, and were asked to rank each of 258 food items as a “hot trend,” “yesterday’s news” or “perennial favorite.” Locally sourced meats came out on the top of the list, followed closely by locally sourced produce. Locally sourced refers to foods which have been produced or harvested within 100 miles of the consumer. Third on the list is “environmentally sustainable” foods, which are defined as those harvested without depleting or damaging the source of the food.
Rounding out the top five are healthy kids’ meals (number four) and gluten-free foods (number five). Restaurants, which have primarily been known for offering only adult friendly foods, are now adding kid friendly options to their menus, which is expected to be an ongoing trend throughout 2014. Gluten allergies are driving the fifth on the list, which includes more popularity for foods such as ancient grains, which are up seven percent. Ancient grains are safe for consumption by those with gluten and wheat allergies, and include grains like quinoa, spelt, kamut and millet.
Dark greens are up by 10 percent, but the more exotic greens like kale are slowly giving way to more traditional options such as turnip, mustard, and collard greens. Finally, new cuts of beef are becoming popularized as the beef industry seeks new ways to offset rising costs. Cuts from the less desirable chuck end of the cow are appearing on high-end restaurant menus, such as the new Vegas strip and Denver cut.
Losing popularity this year are some of 2013’s hippest foods, including Greek yogurt, sweet potato fries, and homemade ice cream.