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WASHINGTON, D.C. — America's chefs reveal the hottest restaurant trends that they expect in 2012.The National Restaurant Association surveyed 1,791 American Culinary Federation member chefs in October-November 2011, asking them to rate 223 individual food items, beverages, cuisines and culinary themes as a "hot trend," "yesterday's news," or "perennial favorite" on restaurant menus in 2012.
The results? The nation's chefs think children's nutrition, local sourcing of food and transparency to consumers of the food source, as well as mobile/tablet apps are some of the hottest trends for 2012. In addition, 6 out of 10 chefs also said they would consider a food truck as an entrepreneurial business venture.
Joy Dubost, Ph.D, R.D., director of Nutrition & Healthy Living for the National Restaurant Association, states: "Nutrition – especially when it comes to children – is becoming a major focus for the nation's nearly one million restaurants, in tune with consumers' increasing interest in healthful eating." She adds, "Local sourcing of everything – from meat and fish, to produce, to alcoholic beverages – is another big trend for 2012. Local farms and food producers have become an important source of ingredients for chefs and restaurateurs wishing to support the members of their business community and highlight seasonal ingredients on menus."
Five Guys Burgers & Fries stores are famous for displaying what farms the day's potatoes come from for patrons. Now giant burger chain McDonald's is joining in on highlighting farmers and its food supply chain. Speaking on December 5 at the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation annual convention, McDonald's Midwest vice president and general manager Debbie Roberts said a 2012 television ad campaign will feature farmers and suppliers of food products. ""We will bring to the consumer, the folks who are actually producing the product," Roberts says. "They will have the opportunity to meet those folks, see them on TV…put the face with the product," PorkNetwork.com reported.
Other hot trends:
In regard to technological trends, sixteen percent of chefs said to look out for a growing social media presence in restaurants, and the same percentage said mobile/wireless/pay-at-the-table payment options will be hot. Some four percent said QR codes will see major movement.
The National Restaurant Association plans to highlight these trends at its Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show in Chicago from May 5-8.