Local, sustainable food – top of list for Canadian chefs

Canada’s foodservice industry employs more than one million people in communities across the country, representing a important part of many local economies. As many communities (and their citizens) begin to place a focus on sustainability and the important role of locally sources foods, they will be pleased to know that this movement is not lost on restaurateurs. Indeed, local, sustainable and organic food choices top a recent list of what’s hot in Canada’s restaurant kitchens.

A new survey conducted for the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) by independent market research firm BrandSpark International asked professional chefs to rate a variety of menu items and cooking methods as either a “hot trend,” “yesterday’s news,” or “perennial favourite.” The “Top 10 Canadian Menu Trends” for 2010 include:

1. Locally sourced food

2. Sustainability

3. Organic produce

4. Artisanal cheeses

5. Simplicity / Back to basics

6. Nutritional / healthy cuisine

7. Free-range poultry / pork

8. Small plates / tapas / mezze / dim sum

9. Bite size / mini desserts

10. Superfruits (e.g. acai, goji berry, mangosteen)

The CRFA survey also asked chefs to identify “up and comers” that are poised to be the next hot trend. The “Top 10 Up and Coming Canadian Menu Trends” include:

1. Ancient grains (e.g., kamut, spelt)

2. Gluten-free beer

3. Vegan entrées

4. Organic alcohol

5. African cuisine

6. New / fabricated cuts of meat

7. Gluten-free cuisine

8. Middle Eastern cuisine

9. Quinoa

10. Non-traditional fish (e.g., branzino, Arctic char, barramundi)

In the news release for the survey, Garth Whyte, CRFA President and CEO, observes, “These topline trends underscore a growing restaurant focus on health, nutrition and the environment … Restaurant chefs are not only listening to their customers, they are helping to drive the trend toward health, nutrition and sustainability through innovative menu offerings.”

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