The National Restaurant Association (NRA) released its “2012 Restaurant Industry Forecast” in conjunction with the 93rd annual Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show. This year’s top trends include:
- Healthful alternatives: In response to Americans' growing interest in health and nutrition, the industry seeks ways to incorporate more nutritious alternatives to consumers’ favorite foods, like bread and dairy products.
- Premium and artisan products: Targeting the evolving tastes of savvy restaurant customers looking for a unique dining experience, premium products were a clear food trend this year.
- Gluten-free products: According to the National Institutes of Health, about one in 100 Americans is affected by celiac disease. As awareness of gluten intolerance is growing, gluten-free products are making their way into the mainstream market.
- Food trucks: Food trucks continue to drive interest, as six in 10 consumers say they would visit a food truck offered by their favorite restaurant, proving that mobile restaurant options aren't a flash-in-the-pan concept.
- Ethnic cuisines and flavors: Responding to consumers' increasingly global palates, the industry is looking to satisfy cravings for Mediterranean and Southeast Asian flavors, among others.
The annual NRA Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show is the largest single gathering of restaurant, foodservice and lodging professionals. NRA Show 2013 will be held at May 18-21 at McCormick Place in Chicago.