Yesterday’s News Appetizers
Bacon Flavored Chocolate was rated by 54% of members as an outgoing trend. Along with this odd flavor pairing, another outgoing appetizer is flavored popcorn. Falafel is another trend fading in 2012. Instead, if you are looking to diversify your restaurant menu, street-inspired foods, like tacos, tapas and kebabs are among hot trends. Ethnic condiments like siricha, raita and chutney are also appearing on more menus throughout the country. Looking for more inspiration from around the globe? Peruvian and Cuban cuisine are among some of the hottest trends, along with Southeast Asian cuisine like Thai and Malaysian.
What’s Out for Children’s Menus
“Fun Shaped” food items (think dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets) are out, according to 55% of chefs. Not only are these foods highly processed, they are often high in calories and fat and low on nutrients. Instead of processed children’s foods, trends for 2012 are headed toward healthy menu items, such as whole grains, fresh fruits and salad entrees. A whopping 63 % of those polled rated oven baked kids food as a hot trend. Read more about how to make your restaurant children’s menu healthier.
In 2010 mini-burgers and sliders and bite-size desserts were among the top trends for restaurant menus. Chain restaurants across the country were offering miniature burgers and teeny-tiny desserts. But for 2012, tiny dinner entrees are seen as Yesterday’s News by 61%. This is a perfect example of how certain food, like fashion, can fall out of style.
Flavored Waters and Energy Drinks
For the second year running, both flavored and “enhanced” waters (like Vitamin Water) and energy drinks are among yesterday’s news. Flavored waters have drawn increasing criticism from public health agencies, who claim they are falsely advertising health benefits of drinking them. Energy drinks, like Red Bull, are also under greater scrutiny, especially when paired with alcoholic beverages. Both these items are seen as an outgoing fad, by 56% and 58% of chefs, respectively. Instead, try offering artisan brews and local wines, both among the hottest trends for 2012. For non-alcoholic options, gluten free drinks, handmade soda (sans high fructose corn syrup) and beverages flavored with lemon bitters are all popular choices.
Other Trends to Say Goodbye To
The biggest menu loser for 2012? Wasabi Peas, with 67% of chefs declaring it to be “yesterday’s news.” Instead, menu items that are hot for the coming year include nontraditional fish such as Arctic char and branzino as well as non-wheat items like black rice, quinoa and red rice.
While coffee will always be on the menu, fancy coffee drinks may not. Cappuccino and lattes, often laden with sugar and fat, are seen as old news, with 66% of those polled declaring the use of foam, froth or air as Yesterday’s News. If the sitcom Friends was still on the air Rachel, Ross, Monica and the rest of the crew would probably be hanging out at tapas bar instead of a coffee house. Read more about what is in for restaurant menus in 2012.