Healthy Food Trends for 2014

Understanding your customers' expectations can help you find ways to menu healthy options.

You already know what’s forecasted to be hot in the foodservice industry for 2014, but how do you apply these food trends to your menu? Start with the basics. Knowing all about your food, from where it's grown, what it contains, and whether or not it’s sustainable, can help you market some of the year’s biggest trends.

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) highlighted the following among its top food trends:

  • Healthful kids’ meals
  • Gluten-free cuisine
  • Children’s nutrition

The group of chefs surveyed from the American Culinary Institute recognized that consumers are looking for more health-conscious menu items, as reflected in the list of top ten.

Unlike the “low-fat” or “low-carb” trends that swept through the industry in earlier decades, this year’s food trends focus on health in a broader perspective - not only health of the individual, but also the health of the community and the earth.

Food trends focused on health

Healthy meals for kids

The focus on nutrition and health for children, is no doubt impacted by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2012. This act, along with media attention on childhood obesity rates, has greatly impacted meals served during the school day to children. Manufacturers are adjusting school food service products to be whole grain, lower in sodium and lower in saturated fat. In addition, new fruits and vegetables are being introduced to school lunches to increase the variety of healthy foods children are eating both in school, and at home.

Gluten-free trends

Gluten-free cuisine has been an increasing trend for the past several years in the industry, and so many foodservice operators are re-vamping menus to satisfy gluten-free diners. Others are starting small and identifying what items are already gluten-free on their menus to reduce inventory. New regulations coming from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will help to identify where the term gluten-free can be used.

To comply with this new regulation, Gordon Food Service is working with manufacturers to identify which products are gluten-free, and will soon be adding a gluten-free symbol to products in Gordon Experience and the NextGen Ordering system for customers.

If you’re looking to provide healthful options or gluten-free cuisine, the Registered Dietitians at the Gordon Food Service Nutrition Resource Center can be your expert resource. In addition to providing nutrition analysis of your menu, they can identify sources of gluten on your menu and guide you through gluten free menu options.