Kraft Foodservice Chefs Predict 11 Trends for 2013

Filed under: Bites & Bits , Author: Caron Golden , January 15, 2013

Trend analysis for 2013! What’s on the horizon? Kraft Foodservice’s team of chefs weighs in, giving thoughtful analysis on today’s most accessible trends. See the entire write-up at “Like” Kraft Foodservice at

Flavor rules in the casualization trend—big, bold, layered, authentic flavors presented in familiar vessels like sandwiches. Nico Romo, chef/owner of Fish in Charleston, S.C., added a croque madame to his dinner menu last autumn, but replaced traditional ham with duck confit and foie gras. Instead of crowning the sandwich with a fried or poached egg, Romo opts for an omelet made with Emmental. The sandwich is a good seller, particularly with patrons who seek a quicker meal at the bar. “The croque is old, but made new again,” he says.

1. Customization and Food as Experience Merge
Customization and food as experience are two mega trends that are now walking in step with each other. And diners are eating it up.

2. Fusion … 3.0
There is an ongoing effort by chefs in all segments to use global ingredients in new and interesting ways, and this has not abated.

3. Casualization Eases into Everything
Flavor rules in the casualization trend—big, bold, layered, authentic flavors presented in familiar vessels, like sandwiches, hot dog builds, flatbreads … Presentation is key here—rustic, back to basics, savory, fresh, memorable.

4. Unusual Pairings Sneak into Mainstream
Unusual pairings bloom from fertile, but often unexplored, ground. The ingredients and flavors work well in these combinations, but they’re not usually seen together. This turf used to belong only to upscale restaurants.

5. Better for You Moves to Feel-Good Food
This trend is still growing and evolving. The meaning of better for you is shifting a little toward seasonal, fresh, wholesome food. So, it’s morphing into food you can feel good about, or “feel-good food.”

6. Salt!
The big story remains salted caramel. It’s showing up everywhere.

7. Specialization of the Menu
This trend has only strengthened with the continued popularity of single or limited-focus restaurants and the opening of new ones in the past year.

8. Vintage Desserts Get Provocative
Updating nostalgic, vintage favorites—what’s not to love? Watch this trend evolve into bolder interpretations, using retro as a springboard for fanciful, playful desserts.

9. Healthier Kids’ Menus
Chefs will focus on adding whole grains to children’s menus. It’s an easy switch out on recognizable kids’ fare, like pizzas, sandwiches and pastas. You still can’t get too crazy with kids, but you shouldn’t underestimate them, either.

10. Ethnic Desserts
This trend has split into two paths—authentic expressions, like the popularity of the traditional tres leches cake, and then ethnic accents on favorite American sweets. Look to the doughnut for inspiration and innovation here.

11. Restaurant/Market Combinations
Consumers are going into these lively restaurant/market combinations, seeing their foods prepared in front of them and then enjoying them at home—so much better than ordering take-out.

What’s Next?
2013: the Year of the Pretzel. Pretzel buns. Pretzel bites. Pretzel crusts. Pretzels will make even deeper inroads in 2013.
Korean. It has gained familiarity and exposure with chefs like Roy Choi and his runaway street-food hit, Kogi. The cuisine stars bold flavors, using ingredients that are familiar to Americans, such as beef short ribs. Also, its umami-rich flavors are killer.
Trend to Watch: “Food Nationalism.” The strong pride in housemade, locally sourced foods that showcase our national heritage and artisan abilities continues to deepen its reach across foodservice. This type of “food nationalism,” expressed really well in winemaking, cheesemaking, charcuterie and other specialized crafts, will continue to influence the foodservice landscape.

Be Sociable, Share!
Caron Golden


Founder of premier organization of personal chefs inspires students to follow their dreams of culinary entrepreneurship.

Candy Wallace, executive director of the American Personal & Private Chef Association (APPCA), today was recognized by Sullivan University’s National Center for Hospitality Studies as its 33rd Distinguished Guest Chef.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment