“Farm-branded just means that the grower’s name is being used as a brand,” Stensson said. “If you think of wine, it’s often branded with the name of the vineyard or estate where the grapes were grown. This is just a wider concept applied to produce, meats and other ingredients.”
Superfruits, including acai, goji berry and mangosteen, kept a spot on the list, coming in 11th with 73% of chefs reporting them as a top trend. Fruit and vegetable children’s side items are still hot, according to 69% of chefs.
However, other produce items may be losing steam. Closer to the bottom of the 214-item list were potatoes/French fries (16% reporting hot trend), cucumber (19%), watermelon (25%), artichoke (26%), coconut (27%) and avocado (35%). On the other hand, more than half of the chefs consider these ingredients to be perennial favorites, so only a smaller portion consider them yesterday’s news.
“I think the drive behind (fresh produce’s) trendiness is related to overall societal trends like increased interest in nutrition and in sustainability,” Stensson said.
Nutrition and health will continue to be a hot trend in 2010, according to 71% of chefs in the National Restaurant Association survey. According to Mintel, 63% of Americans say it’s difficult to eat healthy at restaurant because there aren’t enough healthy choices.
“2009 saw a trend toward healthier menus, but 2010 will see a sharp increase in good-for-you food and drink,” the Mintel survey reported. “Tomorrow’s healthy menus will feature inherently nutritious items — those with fiber, omega-3, vitamins and antioxidants — that deliver on flavor, too.”
World flavors and ethnic-inspired cuisines should also continue to gain popularity. Technomic reported that foods from Asia, including Korean, Indonesian and other Southeast Asian fare, should be hot, along with ever-popular Mexican and Italian food.
“Cuisines like Mexican, Chinese and Italian have become so mainstream, however, that it’s time to dig deeper,” according to the Mintel report.