The chefs have spoken: Local is the hottest menu trend in 2011

March 3, 2011

TORONTO – Local, sustainable and healthy options top the list of menu trends in Canadian restaurants for 2011. More than 500 professional chefs identified what’s hot in the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association’s (CRFA’s) second annual Canadian Chef Survey conducted by independent market research firm BrandSpark International.

Top 10 Canadian menu trends for 2011:

  1. Locally produced food and locally inspired dishes
  2. Sustainability
  3. Nutrition and health
  4. Organics
  5. Simplicity/back-to-basics
  6. Gluten-free/food allergy conscious
  7. Craft beer/microbrews
  8. Artisanal cheeses
  9. Bite-size/mini desserts
  10. Quinoa/ancient grains 

“Once again, the top menu trends are showing an increasing focus on nutrition, as well as a solid appreciation for local flavours,” says Garth Whyte, CRFA President and CEO. “Chefs are constantly evolving their menu offerings to meet a wide range of customer demands and dietary needs.”

What’s new this year?
Notable changes from last year’s survey include nutrition and health jumping three spots from No. 6 in 2010, and artisanal cheeses falling from No. 4 to eighth place. Gluten-free/food allergy conscious and quinoa/ancient grains moved from last year’s “Up and Comer” list – along with new entrant craft beer/microbrews – to become “Hot Trends” in 2011, knocking off free-range poultry/pork, small plates and superfruits from last year’s list.

Results at the CRFA Show
Results from the 2011 Canadian Chef Survey will be released at the annual CRFA Show, March 6 to 8 in Toronto.

Bringing together thousands of restaurant industry professionals, the CRFA Show will feature cooking demonstrations by acclaimed chefs such as Vikram Vij (Vikram Vij, Vij’s Restaurant and Rangoli, Vancouver), Mark McEwan (North 44, Bymark, ONE and Fabbrica, Toronto) and Ezra Title (Chezvous Dining, Toronto, and host of “Healthy Gourmet”).

More than 1,000 exhibit booths will showcase everything from appetizers to desserts, and several seminars and pavilions will highlight the menu trends revealed in the survey – such as The Green Marketplace and The Centre for Sustainability.

The CRFA Canadian Chef Survey was carried out in co-operation with the Canadian Culinary Federation and conducted in February 2011 by BrandSpark International, a Canadian market research and brand strategy firm with expertise in the restaurant industry.

CRFA is one of Canada’s largest business associations, with more than 30,000 members representing restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and other foodservice providers. Canada’s foodservice industry employs more than one million people in communities across the country.

The goal of the Canadian Culinary Federation (CCF) is to unite chefs and cooks across Canada in a common dedication to professional excellence. The CCF was founded in 1963 and incorporated in Ottawa as a non-profit association in 1972.

Detailed 2011 Canadian Chef Study results now available!
A printable summary of the 2011 CRFA Canadian Chef Survey results are now available. (PDF format)
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