Kraft Foodservice offers culinary trend predictions for 2012

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 9th March 2012

Kraft Foodservice, a US division of food giant Kraft Foods Global Inc., has published 6 trend predictions on what it believes will shape foodservice in the US over the next 12 months.

The predictions, which are from Kraft Foodservice chefs and food experts, are as follows:

– Customisation: Customisation allows restaurateurs to create a unique interaction with their diners. For example, boutique burger chains are carving a niche because of that customisation, where they’re willing to jeopardise efficiencies for that point of difference. Independent operators are poised to make the biggest impression here—from letting diners customise their whole experience through small-bites menus to choosing cooking techniques for their proteins.

– Vintage desserts: County-fair favourites and carnival fare continuing to gain traction on menus. Think funnel cakes and caramel-apple flavoured ice cream, malts and milk shakes, cotton candy and marshmallows. Street-food influences, too, like churros and handmade pies.

– Specialisation: In our food history, there was a time when people did only one thing: there was the miller who milled the flour, the butcher, the cheesemonger. Then we evolved into a culture that looked for “something for everybody.” But diners are tired of that, so foodservice, is now moving away from trying to be everything to everybody and back to specialisation.

– Better-for-you options: More restaurants will pay attention to their better-for-you options. They’re not only going to add more dishes, but also pay attention to flavour. Statistics tell us that diners are trying to eat healthier, and that they think foodservice could do a better job of providing healthier options.

– Salt: Salt’s going to be a buzzword this year—from calls for sodium reduction to a resurgence of premium salts. Chefs can elevate a dish’s value proposition by using premium finishing salts, like Hawaiian black lava, Himalayan pink, etc.

– Food as experience: Diners want to be immersed in food culture and experience. Street food and pop-ups are propelling this trend forward—moving it way beyond the phenomenon of fajitas sizzling on a hot plate in front of the customer. Now, we see open kitchens highlighting food prep, framing it like a ballet. And individual plate presentation is being elevated to dinner theatre, perhaps serving a street-food-inspired appetiser on a newspaper to give the dish a sense of place.”