We’re not sure where January went, but we hope that your restaurant is off to a strong start and 2016 will be your best year ever.

In case you missed this excellent video on restaurant food trends, check this out.

Technomic 2016 Food Trends

Watch video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykJEj5XR8cw

Some highlights and how you can include them in your menu.

1. The Sriracha Effect:
This spicy red sauce has shown up on tables and in menu items. Now, the hunt is on for the next hot spice and flavors from Africa and Asia are gaining popularity. You can add these spices to existing menu items as others have done with Sriracha (ex. Sriracha chicken wings)

2. Elevating peasant fare:
Think staples like meatballs, sausage, pierogis, dumplings, cheesy bread and toast. Yes, toast. Think about your concept and cuisine and how you can put your twist and flavor on these items. Get creative! Dumplings with exotic or premium fillings are popping up on menus. Maybe you could develop a selection of savory and sweet (desert) toasts or new signature items.

3. Trash to treasure:
Many restaurants are focusing on eliminating food waste and in doing so finding new ingredients and menu items. New York chef Dan Barber, of Blue Hill, created a $15 per plate pop-up called WastED, where the menu was made entirely of discarded foods. Shake Shack has a “burger” made from juice pulp and stale bread. Think about creative uses for root vegetables, stalks and organ meats.

4. Seafood sustainability:
Fish like tuna, salmon and swordfish have been menu staples for years. In order to take the pressure off these fisheries, some chefs are experimenting with “trash fish.” Don’t let the name fool you. Some people have enjoyed delicious Redfish, Triggerfish, Drum and Whiting for years. If you live near a coast, try to find purveyors that specialize in sustainable fish. In Charleston, we’ve got Abundant Seafood, recently featured on Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown.

5. Burned:
Smoke flavor gained popularity in 2015. Now burned items will start showing up on menus. Think charred vegetables, burnt sugar topped desserts and smoke infused cocktails (smoked ice, salt and syrups). Add items besides meat to your grill to capitalize on this trend.

6. Bubbles:
Effervescent drinks are becoming popular on menus. Champagnes and prosecco, soda-cocktails, hard sodas and sparkling teas are in demand. You can craft your own line of signature sodas. For ideas on this subject, check out our recent article here.

7. No to GMOs:
Consumers are increasingly aware of ingredients and what they find objectionable. In one survey, 70% of consumers said they’d be more likely to purchase food or beverage described as GMO-free. One-third of those surveyed would pay more for non-GMO. If you have ingredients that are non-GMO, it’s worth advertising that on your menu and in your marketing.

8. Local sourcing:
Consumers are interested in knowing where food came from. Foodservice distributors are focusing on local sourcing, animal welfare, ingredient safety (to help avoid e.coli and other foodborne illness outbreaks) and traceability. If you’re near farms or CSAs, work with local purveyors to add their vegetables and proteins to your menu.

9. Fresh and fast:
Chefs are creating casual environments that create fresh food quickly. It’s a hybrid of fast food and fast casual that includes healthy ingredients and ability to customize your order.

10. Delivery:
Online ordering, delivery services and order and pay apps are making it easy for consumers to have take-out at home. Big companies like Amazon and Uber are jumping on the delivery bandwagon. There are some operators who deliver straight from the kitchen (no brick and mortar restaurant) entering the market. Is your kitchen and online ordering set up for delivery demand?

Do you adopt trends? If so, which ones on this list will you be adding to your menu? Or, do you ignore them and do your own thing? Let us know in the comments below.