Every month, I get a newsletter from Liz Wunderlich of the US Meat Export Federation. This issue carried information of the restaurant trends for 2013. I felt you would enjoy reading them and seeing how many you observe. Thanks Liz, your information is always informative.  Readers, I’d be interested in what you notice.~MDH

January Carib Bites Newsletter

· Technomic’s 2013 Restaurant Trends: You know we had to do trends for the Jan. issue!

  1. Vegetables take their star turn. That means not only innovative salads but also creative presentations of roasted orsteamed veggies. Vegetables at center-of-the-plate are for the healthful, fresh, locavore, but also help with prices!
  2. Great grains. Dishes like polenta, couscous or bulgur are starring on menus. And a number of grains–quinoa,amaranth, millet, wild rice, corn, oats and buckwheat—do not contain gluten, to help with that craze.
  3. Chicken surprise. New fast-casual fried-chicken concepts are offering southern or spicy takes on a classic.
  4. Snacking nation. Habits of around-the-clock eating, the street-food/food-truck craze, consumers’ demand for flexibleportions & prices, and operators’ need to move beyond price-cutting on core menu items drive this. Tapas, mezze &upscale bar bites in full-service restaurants or flavorful novelties in QSR places (mini corn dogs, McD’s snack wraps).
  5. More is more. The value-as-volume movement. Deals like Pizza Hut’s Big Dinner Box (two pizzas with multiple sides) or Olive Garden’s Dinner Today & Dinner Tomorrow (a dine-in meal plus a to-go meal), multi-course feasts fortwo, four or more—even whole-hog pig roasts.
  6. Retro rising. Premium diner/deli-inspired meaty sandwiches, full-flavored soups, & pickled—from dill to red onion.
  7. Noodle-shop noodles. Ramen done right is nutritious, subtle, satisfying and redolent of exotic Far East streetmarkets. Look for ramen, udon, soba, cellophane & rice noodles to show up in hearty layered bowls & fragrant soups.
  8. South America—the next frontier. Just as Thai and Vietnam took us beyond Chinese fare, so does Brazil, Peru and Argentina take us past Mexican. Look for S. American-style grilled meats, chimichurri, ceviche, and iconic drinks.
  9. Fast casual goes globe-trotting. American BBQ to SE Asia soups/sandwiches to Mediterranean and Middle East.

10. Restaurants thirsty for differentiation turn to beverages. Trends include fresh fruit, natural energy drinks, regional

craft brews, housemade sodas, cocktails made with candy-like flavored vodka, microdistillery liquors (promotes local).

Maralyn D. HillThe Epicurean Explorer

International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA)

Board Member, Co-Chair Conference & Media Trip Committee, Past President

Editor-at-Large, CityRoom

Freelance Lifestyle Journalist

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