Top 20 Food Trends for 2014

The National Restaurant Association recently released a list of “What’s Hot in 2014 Culinary Forecast” from its survey of nearly 1,300 chefs.  The “Top 20 Trends” list stands out from the results.  See the list below or view the full report here.

  1. Locally sourced meats and seafood
  2. Locally grown produce
  3. Environmental sustainability
  4. Healthful kids’ meals
  5. Gluten-free cuisine
  6. Hyper-local sourcing (e.g. restaurant gardens)
  7. Children’s nutrition
  8. Non-wheat noodles/pasta (e.g. quinoa, rice, buckwheat)
  9. Sustainable seafood
  10. Farm/estate branded items
  11. Nose-to-tail/root-to-stalk cooking (e.g. reduce food waste by using entire animal/plant)
  12. Whole grain items in kids’ meals
  13. Health/nutrition
  14. New cuts of meat (e.g. Denver steak, pork flat iron, tri-tip)
  15. Ancient grains (e.g. kamut, spelt, amaranth)
  16. Ethnic-inspired breakfast items (e.g. Asian-flavored syrups, Chorizo scrambled eggs, coconut milk pancakes)
  17. Grazing (e.g. small-plate sharing/snacking instead of traditional meals)
  18. Non-traditional fish (e.g. branzino, Arctic char, barramundi)
  19. Fruit/vegetable children’s side items
  20. Half-portions/smaller portions for a smaller price

The common theme throughout is healthy and locally grown food.  Consumers are becoming more conscious about what they are eating. Of the members surveyed, 59% said that they would be making efforts to adjust their eating habits and dishes/recipes to include healthier options.

How retailers can maximize these healthy trends
Understand what your customers want.  Keep track of new healthy foods that people order and create promotions around those new products. The best way to promote these products is to use beautifully shot food images that will whet the customers’ appetite and entice them to buy or try something new.

See Also: Retailer Focus: Panera Bread

Good Photography vs Bad Photography
The key to effectively promoting food offerings is outstanding food photography – photography that makes the food look as good as it tastes. Bad photography will not interest customers or get your food items noticed. Utilize photographers, stylists and art directors to create professionally styled food images that can be used for menu boards, POP and online advertising.


In comparing the strawberry images above, the strawberries on the left are more appetizing due to the lighting and white bowl, which is the perfect backdrop for strong color.  Showcasing how fresh and “healthy” the fruit looks, goes in line with the trends.

Source: What’s Hot in 2014 Culinary Forecast
Image Source: Richard North