US quick service restaurant industry trends for 2012

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 11th April 2012

The US National Restaurant Association (NRA) research has published a list of trends it predicts will emerge in the US quick service restaraunt industry during 2012.

As diners become more sophisticated in their tastes and desire for flavourful, healthful foods, quickservice and fast-casual operators are plating up additional items that satisfy those demands, the NRA research found.

Consumers questioned for the NRA’s 2012 Restaurant Industry Forecast ranked their top 10 food trends and several of them were geared toward kids’ meals. The trends, in order, are:

1. Healthful kids’ meals

2. Fruits and vegetable sides in kids’ meals

3. Gluten-free items

4. Lowfat or nonfat milk and 100-percent orange juice options in kids’ meals

5. Locally sourced produced

6. Lower-sodium items

7. Spicy items

8. Lower-calorie options

9. Mini-desserts or dessert bites

10. Low-fat foods

According to the NRA’s director of nutrition and healthy living Dr Joy Dubost said, “There has been increasing awareness around childhood obesity and ensuring that future generations remain healthy. Additionally, it’s become a family affair for adults who also are looking for healthful options that meet their dietary needs. As a result, the demand for those options has grown.”

Despite this increased interest in healthful items, however, the Forecast reported that consumers still have their perennial favorites on limited-service menus. Those items include soft drinks, french fries, iced tea and beef items.