Toast bars, fusion desserts, modernized brunch menus and savory jams are among ten major influencers driving menu trends for 2015, predicts Flavor & The Menu magazine in its newly released Top 10 Trends edition, online at www.getflavor.com.
Each year, Flavor & The Menu editors and foodservice experts compile a set of trends positioned as menu-innovation and growth opportunities for the restaurant industry. This special issue delivers behind-the-trend insights highlighting the "why" factor of each trend, and menu-ready takeaways that give readers ideas for implementation.
Flavor & The Menu's Top 10 Trends for 2015:
Toast: With the trifecta of comfort, simplicity and artisan, toasts layered with premium spreads and toppings are gaining favor outside of hipster cafes and represent opportunities in all dining occasions.
Maple: With strong ties to regional cues and American heritage, maple is moving far beyond breakfast, supported by the breakfast boom and the high-value interest in natural sweeteners.
Fusion Desserts: Fun fusion in both flavor and format mark today's most promising dessert trend. The cronut hybrid ushered in a new era of exploration, blending classic flavors and creative formats to create fun, craveable and buzzworthy sweets.
The Brunch Boom: An outgrowth of the breakfast boom, urban hotspots are leading the way in this refreshed daypart, resulting in a boozy bonanza of edgier fare that expertly juggles comfort, global flavors and all-day breakfast.
Savory Jams: Fueled by all things artisan and the renewed interest in preserving, savory jams like tomato, onion and bacon versions satisfy consumers' love of savory-sweet and represent tremendous flavor-building opportunities.
Italian Fast-Casual: America's undying love of Italian fare makes this an easy model for the booming fast-casual segment, with emerging concepts narrowing their focus on quality fast-fresh build-your-own items like piada (an Italian street-food wrap), pasta bowls and salads.
Feel-Good Cuisine: A shifting mindset has consumers responding to menu items (and brands) that make them feel good about the choices they make—both in body and mind. Attributes like "authentic" and "fresh" play into this.
Low-Alcohol Drinks: A convergence of the continued craft-cocktail movement and bar-business-building acumen, low-alcohol drinks appeal to daytime drinkers, designated drivers and session sippers alike.
Ranch Dressing: As one of America's most beloved condiments, ranch is undergoing a culinary rediscovery, reinvented in new flavor blends (Sriracha-ranch), housemade versions (white-bean ranch) and new forms (a powdered ranch rim for a Bloody Mary).
Modern German: The collective culinary takeoff of sausages, krauts, pretzels, mustards and craft beer has fueled a rediscovery of German cuisine; now we're seeing authentic Germanic concepts broadening their reach with modernized menus.