Food Business News - December 20, 2011 - (Page 37)

New Product Trends Local foods, children’s nutrition top N.R.A. trends But casual dining and flavor combinations are identified as essential to attracting consumers W ith local foods appearing frequently on the National Restaurant Association’s “What’s hot in 2012” trend listing for the past several years, there is opportunity to differentiate a food service operation by using local items. Yet another viewpoint identified casual dining and the combination of Asian and Latin cuisines are also top trends. The N.R.A.’s findings were based on a survey of 1,800 professional chefs who are members of the American Culinary Federation. So how are restaurants using local items on menus? “In our case we use local meats as much as possible — beef, lamb, even goat,” said Brian von Eggers, executive chef with Wildhorse Resort and Casino in Pendleton, Ore. “Some items on the menu are not from within 150-mile radius but are within 300-mile radius — those items include Golden Trout from Idaho, buffalo and elk from Montana. Then during the growing seasons we work very closely with local farms to get in produce. We even set up our wine list to focus on local wines from our region.” Mr. von Eggers said one of the biggest challenges in this local sourcing is it takes time, especially at first, to deal with many smaller vendors as opposed to the one-stop mainline distributors. Yet he said it appears the mainline distributors see this trend and are actually willing to work with the smaller producers to carry their products. He also said local foods provide a point of differentiation for smaller independent restaurants. “This is where the little guy has a leg up on the big corporate machines, and as food and restaurants continue to evolve I think we will see this evolution grow further apart,” Mr. von Eggers said. “People go to chains because they know what they are going to get for their money, and sometimes that is okay. Other times when you really want to experience a culture and its cuisine going to the local chef-driven restaurant will give you an experience that cannot be replicated.” Yet Gerry Ludwig, consulting chef with Gordon Food Service, said while the local trend has received much media attention, it may not be as significant as is being suggested. He said this is because the amount of items that can be sourced locally in a restaurant inventory is small. He said the main opportunities for local are in produce and some poultry and beef. While many beers are being brewed locally, many restaurants are still using ingredients from various areas, he said. “The restaurants that are really drawing people in and packing the seats are the ones that are providing foods that have the most exciting flavors,” Mr. Ludwig said. “The two most important things to dining consumers are, No. 1, restaurants that provide the sort of food they can’t very easily prepare for themselves at home, and secondly, and more importantly, they are seeking foods they can’t find at another restaurant in their area.” He said the competitive area around a restaurant is a three- to five-mile radius, and it’s important for restaurants to differentiate themselves from other restaurants in that proximity. Mr. Ludwig also said dining styles in the United States are becoming more casual, from white tablecloth restaurants losing the white tablecloths, down to the foods that may be bought curbside from food trucks. Interestingly, 6 out of 10 chefs in the N.R.A. survey said they would consider a food truck as an entrepreneurial business venture. “The average American truly does not want a lot of formality and ceremony and pretention in the dining experience,” Mr. Ludwig said. “So we as dining consumers have really been moving all segments of the restaurant industry to more casual dining.” The combination of Asian and Latin flavors, such as Korean tacos, is also a draw among consumers, Mr. Ludwig said. Technology is also a factor in restaurant trends with about one-fourth of the chefs surveyed saying smartphone apps will be the most significant technology trend in the coming year, and another 25% said tablet computers will be the top technology trend. FBN ALLISON GIBESON December 20, 2011 FOODBUSINESS NEWS ® 37

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food Business News - December 20, 2011

Food Business News - December 20, 2011
Government to decide on B.P.A. ban by March 31
Dairy Business News - Higher prices lead to sluggish fresh milk sales
Commodity, ingredient prices trending lower at year end
Editorial - Food revolution in wake of food truck growth
Food companies alleging egg price fixing from 1999 to 2008
Nestle details progress made on nutrition front
NPD Group: Restaurant traffic flat in 2011
Yum! raises guidance on global strength
Coca-Cola forms partnerships to develop 100% plant-based bottles
Lempert sees economizing as key trend in 2012
Blount buys Cape Cod Chowder Co.
Falconhead Capital acquires Rita’s Water Ice Franchise
Better margins seen in 2012
Sara Lee to buy Dutch cafe store operator
Sara Lee to base North American Meats in Chicago
Clearer picture of local food
Smithfield Foods income falls 16% in second quarter
Earnings filing delay for Diamond Foods
Health and Wellness - Researchers shed light on probiotics benefits
Ingredient Innovations - Oils factor into french fry innovation
Dairy Business News - Dairy Ingredients Symposium to be held in March
Dairy Business News - Cultures increase cottage cheese yield
Dairy Business News - WhiteWave moves ahead on sustainability initiatives
Dairy Business News - Steve Millard to lead Emmi Roth USA
Dairy Business News - October nonfat dry milk output down 12% from year ago
New Product Trends - Local foods, children's nutrition top N.R.A. trends
New Product Trends - Niman Ranch introduces all-natural beef entrees
New Product Trends - Pamela’s Products launches Whenever Bars
New Product Trends - Mission Foods adds Artisan Style Tortillas
New Product Trends - Sunsweet launches Plum Amazins
Food Ingredients Europe
Ingredient Market Trends
Ingredient Markets
Supplier Innovations and News - Cocoa production method wins Fi Europe honor
Supplier Innovations and News - System reduces acrylamide level in coffee
Supplier Innovations and News - Kalsec introduces specialty flavors
Supplier Innovations and News - Vitiva launches Sweet’nVit stevia brand
Supplier Innovations and News - Spicetec hires technical services specialist
Supplier Innovations and News - Ingredient adds shelf life, works in flavor system
Ad Index
Food Business in the News

Food Business News - December 20, 2011