What’s hot? Local, sustainable fish


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
December 1, 2009

The National Restaurant Association on Tuesday released its annual What’s Hot survey, and “locally sourced seafood” came out on top.

Of the 214 food and beverage items and preparation methods 1,854 American Culinary Federation member chefs were asked to score, only “locally grown produce” beat out “locally sourced meat and seafood” as the hottest culinary trends.

“Sustainability” ranked third, followed by nutritious kids’ meals, half-portions, farm-branded ingredients and gluten-free/food-allergy conscious meals. Rounding out the top 10 was “sustainable seafood,” and “non-traditional fish,” such as barramundi and Arctic char, placed in the top 20.

The chefs were asked to rate the 214 food and beverage items and preparation methods in one of three categories — hot trend, yesterday’s news or perennial favorite.

In addition to local food and sustainability, health and nutrition, smaller portions, value and comfort food were among the survey’s reoccurring themes.

“The top trends this year — local sourcing, sustainability and nutrition — reflect wider societal trends and consumers' growing interest in these issues,” said NRA President and CEO Dawn Sweeney. “Many restaurants are sourcing some of their ingredients locally, and you often see chefs shopping at farmers’ markets to create a host of better-for-you options that today’s diners want.”

“This is retro — it’s what we did in the past when chefs relied on local markets because we did not have the luxury of today’s transportation system,” said ACF President Michael Ty. “We are going back to our roots and the foundation of our craft that made it more pleasurable.”

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