Food Trends 2017: Farmers, Foodies and Producers of Food Products, Part 2



As I alluded to in my first post with John Ivanko, we were amazed by the breadth of food and beverage offerings at the nation’s largest, annual food-service trade show, the NRA Show, hosted by the National Restaurant Association (NRA) in Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center.

Perhaps this comes as no surprise since the food service and hospitality industry is booming right now, with many a farmer or homesteader supplying the chefs, cooks and restaurateurs with fresh, seasonal produce, grass-raised meat products, or organic, free-range eggs. Or perhaps you, like us, have struck out on your own and started up a farmstay B&B or offer on-farm food service of some sort or another. Given the economy, there’s no shortage of customers willing to pony up for a great pizza from a wood-fired oven or sumptuous B&B breakfast.

“Menu trends today are beginning to shift from ingredient-based items to concept-based ideas, mirroring how consumers tend to adapt their activities to their overall lifestyle philosophies, such as environmental sustainability and nutrition,” says Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President of Research for the National Restaurant Association. Nettle, daikon radish, garlic scapes and wild-foraged mushrooms are just some of the many items you might entice a local chef, eager to embrace these culinary trends.

“Also among the top trends for 2017, we’re seeing several examples of house-made food items and various global flavors, indicating that chefs and restaurateurs are further experimenting with from-scratch preparation and a broad base of flavors,” adds Riehle.

Here are a few more food trends and innovations surfaced as we wandered the aisles of the NRA Show in 2017, many well suited for growers prepared to take advantage of them:

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