Restaurant diners are seeking out locally sourced natural food. According to the National Restaurant Association, which surveys chefs each year for feedback on trends for the upcoming year, consumers want local, natural and organic. Locally sourced and grown foods were named in four out of the top ten trends. Also named were natural foods and sustainability with an emphasis on organic, healthy foods. Once again, concern for the environment is important. Consumers are also becoming more health conscious and educated in their food choices.
Locally sourced meats, seafood and produce are in demand as people become more conscious of their health and the type of food they are purchasing and eating. This trend is not just limited to foodies. Consumers are more food savvy and are embracing the hyper-local food trend, where every part of a meal is sourced locally. Diners want to know where their food is coming from, and eating seasonally and locally keeps us close to nature. Local sourcing supports small, local farms and keeps them economically healthy, hopefully allowing for the farms to flourish and stay productive. This is one reason that ordering and embracing the local food movement is important to the restaurant industry.
Another key trend is a continuing demand for natural, minimally processed food. As people become more aware of the unhealthiness of fast food meals, there is growing interest in natural ingredients. We will continue to see more of these foods on restaurant menus. Vegetarian and vegan options are growing as well, fueled again by consumers searching for healthy, minimally processed foods. As diners continue to look for healthy alternatives to meat proteins, grains such as quinoa, that provides both protein and high fiber, will continue to be popular in 2015.
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