Locally grown produce ranks second among the hottest restaurant menu trends for 2014, trailing only local meats and seafood in a survey of chefs by the National Restaurant Association.
Local produce has been among the top 20 trends in the annual list since 2009. It also ranked second last year, when the same two categories topped the chef picks.
For its What’s Hot forecast, the Washington, D.C.-based foodservice trade group surveyed 1,283 chef members of the American Culinary Federation in October and November. They rated 258 items.
“Consumers are more interested than ever in what they eat and where their food comes from, and that is reflected in our menu trends research,” Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the National Restaurant Association’s research and knowledge group, said in a news release.
Other top 20 trends include healthful kids meals, fourth; hyper-local sourcing (such as restaurant gardens), sixth; children’s nutrition, seventh; farm or estate branded items, 10th; health and nutrition, 13th; and fruit and vegetable children’s side items, 19th.
“Sourcing locally and environmental sustainability tie in with ongoing efforts to provide more-healthful foods for everyone, especially children,” Thomas Macrina, American Culinary Federation national president, said in the release.
Kale salads made a separate list for Top New Trends, reaching the No. 50 spot.
The survey also names cooling trends among past top 20 choices. Microgreens had the second-steepest drop since 2009. Chefs rank it 94th for 2014. Organic produce had a gentler fall, from the top 20 to 39th.