Whatever the medium, the message is clear: food is big news. While we need food to live, it’s no longer just about satiating our empty stomachs. These days, what we eat, where we eat it and where it’s grown is connected to a host of issues. In many ways, and on many levels, food nurtures our spirit, our sense of adventure and our need to be seen as knowledgeable and sophisticated in our tastes. Our preoccupation with food is also becoming obsessive, driven in part by health and nutrition concerns, ethical and social beliefs and by media buzz. Undeniably, food is red hot.
So if you’re a restaurateur intent on capitalizing on the hottest trends, where do you start? How do you know what’s truly hot and what’s simply trendy? Equally, if you’re the top toque in the kitchen, how do you determine which dishes should be marketed on your menu and what your customers really want?
Certainly, amidst the buzz, restaurateurs need to determine what works and what doesn’t based on their mandate and customer base. And, we can’t discount the interplay of the economy and societal changes to dictate the scope of the changes being made on the menu. Of course, immigration and societal shifts also play important roles in how we change our eating habits. With that in mind, this month’s Trend Report provides operators with a comprehensive look at the major trends impacting this industry. The Trend Report takes an inside look at five major areas: food, technology, operations, social media and greening, surveying the industry from coast to coast to find the salient trends of the day and how they’re impacting operators.
While we need food to live, it’s no longer just about satiating our empty stomachs.
Further playing on the importance of those trends, this month, and continuing for the next few months, Foodservice and Hospitality will be launching new columns to help operators better understand how to appeal to today’s customers. Tapping into the better health trend, “Analyze This,” debuts as a regular column written by dietitians from Oakville, Ont.’s Food Systems Consulting Inc. The column, to be published six times a year, will help operators better understand the nutritional components of various menu items by deconstructing a recipe. Operators interested in having their recipes analyzed should submit a copy to me via email. We’re also pleased to introduce a new cookbook column called “Books for Cooks.” The column, to appear every other month, will feature a Q&A with a leading cookbook author, touching on food trends of the day.
As our Trend Report and these new columns illustrate, today’s marketplace is nothing if not diverse and dynamic. It’s also increasingly sophisticated, influenced and shaped by myriad factors. Understanding them is crucial in knowing where your business is going. To that end, the NPD Group recently released a report called “A Look into the Future of Foodservice.” Operators will be happy to learn the findings show the industry is poised for solid growth over the next five years. For example, in 2007 there were 6.4-billion consumer visits in the foodservice industry, growing only slightly to 6.5-billion visits in 2011. But, by 2016, NPD forecasts the industry will attract 7.1-billion visits, with QSR expected to be the fastest-growing segment with projected increases of 17 per cent, representing an incremental gain of 178-million visits. Surprisingly, the retail sector (convenience stores, HMR) will be the second-fastest growing segment, forecast to grow by nine per cent, with an incremental gain of 68-million visits. Clearly, we’re setting the stage for future success.
Foodservice Trend Report 2012 (Food, Operations, Technology, Social Media, Greening)