It's getting close to the end of the year, which fact you can tell by the beginning of year-end predictions. Yes, already. Along with the Christmas decorations, which seem to go up earlier every year. Subliminal Capitalism, I guess. In this vein, PR Newswire is reporting on food service trends for 2011. 2010 was supposed to be the year of fried chicken and whoopie pies. What's up for next year, at least theoretically? Turn the page. And consider making your own predictions. The New Orleans Hornets and lasagna cupcakes, maybe.
5. Making old favorites healthier. Turns out that people want to eat better, they just don't like how food tastes without all that salt and butter and fat. So Taco Bell is reducing the sodium content of items on their menus, just to see if we can have it both ways. No word on what the McDonald's and the rest of them are doing, if anything. Other than maybe getting rid of the toys in the Happy Meals.
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4. Automated menus. From ordering your pizzas online to, maybe, tweeting your dinner choices, restaurants will be trying to appeal to a younger crowd. And lowering their operating costs by eliminating those real people who take your orders.
3. Transparency. We want transparency in our government, supposedly, and also in our restaurants. Calorie counts. Letter grades. Maybe fast food restaurants should all have open kitchens, like Hatfield's and FarmShop. So we can see the frozen stuff going into the deep fryers ourselves.
2. Indigenous ingredients. In which the Eat Local trend goes a step further, Mintel research predicts that we'll all be eating super local food as restaurants use more "traditional or authentic ingredients to their ethnic or globally-positioned entrees." It's all in the adjectives.
1. Loopholes. Of course, right? It seems that the full disclosure clause does not apply to LTO's, or Limited Time Offer items. (Not unlike the Bush tax cuts.) Thus restaurants can conveniently circumvent both Trends 5 and 3 by offering insanely bad-for-you specials.