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Industry Experts Predict What Will Have Major Foodie Impact in 2017

Industry Experts Predict What Will Have Major Foodie Impact in 2017

It’s time once again to share industry experts’ predictions on those foods, cuisines, technology and other trends that will impact our industry going forward.

Mark Canlis, Owner Canlis, Seattle, Washington

We have focused on the experience of fine dining here in Seattle for 65 years, and I predict a return to civility and good manners in the dining room. We are seeing chefs move away from making food seem so “precious,” with little dabs and flourishes all over the plate. The number of courses on tasting menus is declining. Eight or nine courses are just too much of a good thing.

I attended the MAD Symposium in Copenhagen last August. There was a lot of focus on avoiding burnout by taking care of our own wellness and happiness, but also that of our staff. We don’t want to allow lazy attitudes to develop, but at the same time, we must prevent staff burnout to retain the best people.

People are interested in “paleo”. We are exploring ancient grains here at Canlis, and have visited The Bread Lab at Washington State University, where the science of growing grain properly is taken very seriously. We use their buckwheat, which is not only nourishing, but possesses great richness and depth of flavor.

Marc Jacobs, Partner Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE), Chicago

Healthful dining options are increasingly attractive to all demographics. Even classic comfort foods are getting a healthful spin.

Fresh-squeezed juices are bringing healthful options to beverage and bar menus. At Ema, we feature cucumber and mint soda; carrot, apple and ginger snap; cherry chia cooler; goji berry lemonade; mango, orange and pineapple nectar; and blueberry and basil smash.

In the non-commercial segment, hospitals and universities are attracting customers with better quality and big-name foodservice outlets. For example, our Beatrix Streeterville has an outlet in Northwestern Medical Center.

Meghan Pusey, Sr. Director, Integrated Communications, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Centennial, Colorado

2017 is set to be a year of exploration. Consumers are looking for globally inspired flavors and dishes that really kick the menu up a notch with ethnic condiments and spices.

2017 will likely see the continued rise of favorite mainstay steaks and roasts, along with increased use of economical and previously underutilized cuts. These cuts help foodservice operators fulfill consumers’ desire for delicious, quality beef on the menu, while keeping their bottom line in mind.

The Flat Iron Steak is appearing on menus across the nation. It is the second most tender cut in the beef carcass. It is proven to be a low-cost steak alternative to Filet Mignon, and it’s also being cut into strips for stir-fry or cubed for kabobs. Another economical cut seeing more traction at foodservice is the Shoulder Petite Tender. Also known as Teres Major, this cut is tender and juicy, but it also meets USDA guidelines for lean.

The fastest growing cuts in foodservice include Strip Loin/Top Loin, Brisket and Sirloin Roast.

Jeff Merry Reinhart Corporate Chef, Boston Division

As driven as most Americans are to lead a more healthful lifestyle, I am seeing that we are still willing to sample “extreme cuisine.” For example, there are situations in which we are willing to overindulge with battered and deep fried foods, the milkshake stuffed with cookies or candy, and multi-layered cheese fries. People are also willing to try unusual combinations — the yin and yang of extreme contrasts, such as pairing savory and sweet flavors.

I am seeing a lot of focus on the nuances of “regionalized cuisines” — a drilling down to the subtle details that make up a specific flavor profile, such as selecting the perfect chili pepper to enhance a Mexican specialty or the exact spice to lend authenticity to an African stew.

Chefs today are hyper-aware of the interest in “vegetable-centric” options. In general, Americans are becoming more interested in cleaner eating. Meat is still the preferred protein for many, but the portion sizes are shrinking. To manage diners’ expectations, chefs are becoming more adept at turning vegetable side dishes into stars in their own right.

What’s Up with Millennials?

Lee Pier, Owner The Nitty Gritty, 3 Locations − Madison, Wisconsin

Our flagship location is on the University of Wisconsin campus. We are teeming with Millennials – including most of our customers, and most of our staff, too.

Our menu reflects current trends, with veggie burgers and falafel, and a variety of salads to satisfy vegetarians. Gluten-free options are addressed. Millennials care about sustainability and want to know where their food comes from. We source locally as much as possible.

When I tell my staff that I remember the days before the internet, they look at me like I came from Mars. Operators who want to appeal to this demographic must be tech-savvy. Familiarize yourself with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. “Geo-fencing” is a hot new app we are using that employs a GPS locator to help consumers find deals on meals or the closest bite to eat.

We are seeing more Millennial interest in raising money for worthwhile causes, which is why we’ve instituted a “Cup Night” policy, in which colored plastic cups are purchased for $5, and all subsequent refills are just a buck. A percentage of all cup sales are donated to a designated charity.

Gene Grabowski, Spokesman for the National Egg Board, Washington, D.C.

With the proliferation of the all-day breakfast, we are seeing eggs regarded as an important protein for all foodservice dayparts. There is a lot of renewed interest in quiches, omelets and frittatas on lunch and dinner menus.

We are seeing Millennials developing a keen interest in eggs, whether it’s boiled eggs for a grab-and-go meal, or the deviled eggs appearing on more and more bar menus.

Vegetarians are embracing eggs as a valuable source of protein. People with dietary restrictions are learning that eggs are easy to digest, low in carbohydrates and gluten-free.

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