US Restaurant Menus Trends in 2012

Children’s nutrition and local sourcing are predicted to be the hottest trends showing up on restaurant menus in 2012, according to findings from the National Restaurant Association’s “What’s Hot in 2012″ survey of nearly 1,800 American Culinary Federation member chefs.

“The top menu trends we’re seeing in our What’s Hot in 2012 survey reflect the macro-trends we have seen grow over the last several years,” said Joy Dubost, PhD, RD, director of Nutrition & Healthy Living for the National Restaurant Association. “Nutrition, especially when it comes to children, is becoming a major focus for the nation’s nearly 1 million restaurants, in tune with consumers’ increasing interest in healthful eating.”

Another big trend for the next year is local sourcing of everything—from meat and fish, to produce, to alcoholic beverages. Dubost said local farms and food producers have become an important source of ingredients for chefs and restaurateurs wishing to support the members of their business community and highlight seasonal ingredients on menus.

The Top 20 trends for 2012 include:

  1. Locally sourced meats and seafood.
  2. Locally grown produce.
  3. Healthful kids’ meals.
  4. Hyper-local items.
  5. Sustainability as a culinary theme.
  6. Children’s nutrition as a culinary theme.
  7. Gluten-free/food allergy-conscious items.
  8. Locally produced wine and beer.
  9. Sustainable seafood.
  10. Whole grain items in kids’ meals.
  11. Newly fabricated cuts of meat.
  12. Farm/estate-branded items.
  13. Food trucks/street food.
  14. Artisan spirits.
  15. House-made/artisan ice cream.
  16. Health/nutrition as a culinary theme.
  17. Non-traditional fish.
  18. Fruit/vegetable kids’ side items.
  19. Children’s mini-meals (i.e. smaller versions of adult menu items).
  20. Culinary cocktails.

About one-quarter of the chefs (26 percent) ranked smartphone apps as the hottest technology trend in restaurants in 2012, and another quarter (25 percent) said tablet computers (i.e. iPads for menus and wine lists) will be the top technology trend. Sixteen percent said social media would be the top trend, and the same percentage said mobile/wireless/pay-at-the-table payment options, while 4 percent said QR codes.

When asked how to best follow the USDA’s latest dietary guidelines of increasing fruits and vegetables in Americans’ diet, 55 percent said offering a wider variety of vegetable/fruit side dishes on menus, 19 percent said using more produce in existing recipes, and 16 percent said following MyPlate’s visual guideline of making fruits and vegetables half the plate.


Physical Fitness Linked to Death Risks

If you maintain or improve your fitness level — even if your body weight has not changed or increased — you can reduce your risk of death, according to research reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

In a study of 14,345 adult men, mostly white and middle or upper class, researchers found that:

  • Maintaining or improving fitness was associated with a lower death risk even after controlling for Body Mass Index (BMI) change.
  • Every unit of increased fitness (measured as MET, metabolic equivalent of task) over six years was associated with a 19 percent lower risk of heart disease and stroke-related deaths and a 15 percent lower risk of death from any cause.
  • Becoming less fit was linked to higher death risk, regardless of BMI changes.
  • BMI change was not associated with death risks.

BMI is a measurement based on weight and height (kg/m2). MET measures the intensity of aerobic exercise – specifically, the ratio of metabolic rate during a specific physical activity to a reference rate of metabolic rate at rest.

Results of the study underscore the importance of physical inactivity as a risk factor for death from heart disease and stroke, said researchers. Researchers also found no association between changes in body fat percentage or body weight and death risk.


An Omelette with Pizza Ingredients


2 eggs
2 tbsp water
salt and pepper, to taste
cooking spray
3 tbsp pizza sauce
5 slices pepperoni
1/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Beat eggs with water in a bowl; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Spray an 8-inch non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Pour in egg mixture. As mixture sets at the edges, with spatula, gently push cooked portions towards centre. Tilt and rotate the skillet to allow uncooked egg to flow into empty spaces.
  3. When eggs are almost set on surface but still look moist, spread pizza sauce over half of the omelette.
  4. Top with pepperoni and Mozzarella cheese. Slip spatula under the unfilled side, fold the omelette in half and slide onto a warm plate. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Source: Style Manitoba

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