Top-five culinary trends in 2013

culinary-trends-2013I’ve been working in LSG Sky Chef’s Product Marketing (Innovation & Trends) team for three years now. Part of my job is to keep track of the latest food trends, to see which could be adapted into products and services for LSG Sky Chefs and our customers.

At the beginning of this year I compiled a list of the top five culinary trends taking shape around the world.  They include:

1. Local-regional trend – We saw this trend become bigger in 2012 and it continues to reign at the top for 2013. More restaurateurs are venturing for local ingredients and regional products. Farmers markets are becoming ever more popular. The trend is also moving in the direction of “hyper-local sourcing,” where more and more restaurants grow their own herbs and vegetables on the terrace or at the back of the restaurant.

2. Casual Dining – Food and dining options will continue to be more casual in nature. In 2012 we saw many Michelin-Star Chefs opting for a less “white tablecloth” atmosphere and instead offering more casual experiences, albeit at higher prices. This trend of casualization of dining will expand as diners opt for choices more befitting of their individual lifestyles.

3. Veggies Rule – With the increased interest in more healthy, fresher ingredients, vegetables will take center stage in 2013. Chefs will look to impress curious consumers not only on the dinner plate but also on the dessert menu and even in cocktails. It’s not about eliminating meat, but letting plant-based products play a greater role in creating new and exciting flavor combinations.

4. Haute Butchers – Parallel to the veggie movement, there still remains a strong interest in meat. However, consumers want to know where their protein comes from, that the animals were raised responsibly, and specific details as to the quality and cut. The trend is to source high quality local meat, make sure it is aged in the correct way and then cook it in its own natural flavor. New, less prominent cuts of meat are also gaining in popularity, while super-premium cuts such as wagyu  continue to reign supreme.  More and more high-end haute butcher shops will open their doors this year.

5. Snackification – Having a hectic lifestyle could mean we are eating less at every meal, but more than making up for it with endless snacking. According to Restaurant Hospitality magazine: “Snacks account for 1 in 5 eating occasions; multiple snacks now qualify as America’s ‘fourth meal’ and even the traditional three are degenerating into nibbles and bits. Snacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated — glorified mini-burgers, wraps with exotic fillings, mini-dippers and tiny shakes are building off-hours bar traffic.”