Foodservice trend predictions for 2012

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 6th December 2011

A London-based market research company has outlined four trends that it believes will shape the way foodservice operators develop menu options during 2012.

The four trends are identified by Mintel Group are:

Slow it down: Fast food restaurants are returning to more time-intensive preparation methods for their menu items. As such, items described as “hand-made” or “home-style” are popping up on restaurant menus. Consumers are prepared to seek more from their dining experience than efficiency.

Importing ideas: For many restaurant chains, growth lies in international markets. And for those companies already with an international presence, experimenting with menu concepts and more product-testing is taking place overseas. This was the case with McDonald’s recent McBites, which first started in Australia before entering the US market. Given the importance of international markets for growth, this is one trend that will continue to grow beyond this year.

Double-sided menus: According to Mintel, the double-sided menu trend illustrates consumers’ preference for wide choices. Operators understand it’s not ‘either, or’ – it’s both, so both high-priced and low-priced options are appearing on the same menu. Menus will continue to feature indulgent options, but will be balanced with healthier, “better-for-you” options. Additionally, options could include premium and extra value prices.

Consumer control: Consumers expect a greater say in the product and a greater expectation of their needs to be met. Customised ordering systems will continue to flourish, as will greater flexibility in menu design.