Special thank you to Intermountain IFT for hosting a great meeting March 14-16 in beautiful Sun Valley, Idaho. This IFT section does a great job of host industry specific, technical and relevant speakers. I was particularly interested in a presentation by Ms. Pam Gray of Kraft Foods. Her presentation titled, “’2012 Food Trendictions’ – Predicting Tomorrow’s Food Trends Today,” was very interesting. Based on menu trends from Dataessentials, Ms. Gray discussed old, current, and future restaurant trends. Most fascinating to me was the Food Trucks, or street food. I am not a food truck person so am skeptical about this whole thing. In 2010 14% of consumers ate off a food truck or street cart compared to 16% who consumed a smoothie (I like to go to the smoothie shop and there are lots of brick & mortar smoothie shops). And with certainty food truck trends are showing up in our favorite main stream, chain restaurants in the form of ethnic flare in familiar delivery: edamame, humus, wonton, and ceviche
Tapa-tizer Mediterranean Skewers from TGI Friday’s, with humus and tzatziki
Carnitas Taco Pizza from Calif Pizza Kitchen, with caramelized onions and blue cheese
Chicken Wonton Tacos from Applebees, with sweet & sour chicken and Asian cilantro slaw
Other surprising facts from Ms. Gray’s presentation? The #1 sauce served in restaurants is Siracha. Not catsup, not Tabasco. The #1 trend coming from food trucks is portability in the form of sandwiches, wraps, individual baked goods (cupcakes, cookies), served in a cup (fries, tacos).