THE FOLLOWING SPECIAL REPORT IS THE FIRST OF a three-part series on food trends from the perspective of R&D executives representing a dozen leading foodservice companies.
We talked to the corporate chefs of venues ranging from supermarkets to casual-dining chains to top-earning fast-food companies.
You might think executives serving such diverse markets would offer vastly different answers when asked to predict food trends. You’d be wrong. Many offered similar answers, and some were exactly the same.
Still, others were diametrically opposed.
Just being aware of these individuals’ predictions may help you better plan for trends that will stick around for years and avoid food fads that may be on the decline.
The majority of the R&D executives consulted say diners now crave bold, ethnic flavors, smaller indulgences and high-quality raw ingredients, specifically better beverages and food from North Africa—especially Morocco.
Most of all, today’s diners want what they want, exactly the way they want it. They expect choices in portion sizes, flavors and textures.
But it may be even more interesting to note the fads these leaders expect to flop. for instance, the now avant-garde molecular gastronomy movement may soon fizzle out like a flat soda, a few of the developers say.
There was a lack of consensus, however, when it came to such topics as grass-fed beef, healthful options and even whole grains.
Time will tell.