Foodservice trends to watch for in 2014
Thursday, Dec 19th 2013

The upcoming year will bring many changes in the foodservice industry, including sector professionals focusing on new areas and utilizing different practices to meet customer needs.

Utilization of different ingredients
A main trend hitting the foodservice industry is the utilization of different ingredients in a variety of dishes. According to Food Product Design, foodservice workers will increasingly prepare food with lemon, both in juice and preserved form. Cooks will also leverage the unique flavor of tea leaves to add a healthy, earthy flavor to both entrees and desserts. Restaurants will also rely less on cheeses, dairy and sauces and instead use egg yolks in their place for a creamy addition. Farm-to-table options will become increasingly popular, as restaurants offer additive-free options, locally sourced meat and just-picked vegetables to diners that want to eat healthier and support local businesses at the same time. 

To take full advantage of this trend, however, these ingredients must retain their freshness. Restaurants should be sure to practice safe storage and handling practices to maintain the best taste of preservative-free foods. Foodservice vendors and eateries can utilize a temperature monitoring system to ensure proper storage and freshness. 

Increased focus on reducing waste
Food Navigator noted that restaurants and inventory providers will focus more on reducing the amount of products that are thrown away or otherwise wasted. Sustainability will become a growing trend next year, and industry professionals should take steps to ensure that all products are used before they go bad.

Restaurant owners and employees can be more vigilant about inventory control, and keep a close eye on the amount of each item being used and how much is wasted. After recording these tendencies over a period of time, they can work to adjust how much product is ordered to be sure that they are not purchasing too much. A temperature monitoring system can also help maintain a proper storage environment to keep items fresher for longer.

Transparency in food origin
Customers will also seek more  information about where their food products are coming from, stated Food Navigator. This trend will affect vendors especially, as client demands will dictate that they provide more details about where food is grown, processed and packaged. However, this practice will expand to include business processes as well, stated the Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing.

"With consumers concerned about the origin of their foods, they are demanding transparency in ingredient sourcing as well as general business practices," the source stated. "Look for restaurants to comply, offering more information about their green practices and the causes they support."

Technology Integration
NACS also predicted that restaurants will increasingly use technological innovations to improve services, including integration with digital services to offer loyalty programs, discounts and other promotions. This will also affect the look and feel of organizations' websites, as they are redesigned to reflect new opportunities in consumer engagement. 

Technology adoption in the foodservice sector will also include the use of different systems to enhance food storage and handling practices, such as the implementation of temperature monitoring systems. This technology allows managers to oversee the range in which food items are kept and ensure that industry safety practices are observed.