The leading global consumer, product and market research group Mintel predicts 5 trends for menus across the country for 2010.
After a year of cheap $5 menus and numerous special offers Mintel Menu Insights, a service that tracks US menu trends, is predicting a return to higher quality food and ingredients on menus for the forthcoming year. Maria Caranfa, Registered Dietician and Senior Analyst for Mintel Menu Insights stated "Restaurants are redefining 'value' on the menu, moving away from the cost-savings that were so important earlier this year to incorporate high quality ingredients, classic flavor combinations and authentic, old-fashioned preparations. In 2010, we expect menus to go back to the basic roots of good food and drink".
Trend 1: Classically Simple
As the recession took hold many restaurants stopped being experimental and wrote out menus with simple but good food. In fact the top new menu item for chain restaurants so far this year is the burger. Mintel Menu Insights predicts that this classic approach will continue but with more nostalgic and decadent items added. They forecast more bacon, lobster, classic cocktails, milk-and-cookies and donut hole desserts on menus next year.
Trend 2: Restaurant-Grown
Restaurants will be offering more produce that has been grown in restaurant gardens or hand produced on site for example house infused spirits or chef’s own chutney. Menu items will be individually locally sourced and artisan breads and cheeses will become popular. “Rustic” is expected to be the word popping up across the board.
Trend 3: Dining out...in
As half of all Americans are spending less at restaurants during the credit crunch, restaurants have to find new ways to sell their food. Burger King, for example, is selling French fries in retail stores and Mintel Menu Insights expects this trend to continue. They also expect restaurants to develop relationships with their customers using new technology such as iPhone apps, social networking sites as well as websites for online ordering.
Trend 4: Inherent health
2009 saw a trend developing offering menu items for the more health conscious. As nine out of 10 Americans think that eating healthily is important, 2010 is expected to see a sharp rise in food and drink that is considered fresh and wholesome. Menus will be packed with items full of vitamins, fiber, omega 3 and antioxidants.
Trend 5: Regional Ethnic
In a recent Mintel poll four out of five adults said that in the past month that they had eaten ethnic food in a restaurant. With this in mind ethnic food is expected to become more regional with areas such as Tuscany being pinpointed. More ethnic cuisines are forecast to appear on menus with offerings from perhaps Brazil or Morocco.
Photos courtesy of flickr - esox lucius, eyeflyer and Mintel