DC-Area Restaurant Consultancy Identifies Top 2016 Food and Prep Trends for Q1

DC-Area Restaurant Consultancy Identifies Top 2016 Food and Prep Trends for Q1

Trendystia MRC: Fermented foods, small bites and seeds just some of the trends restaurateurs can leverage for success

Trendystia MRC (Maryland Restaurant Consulting) has identified 10 top food & prep trends for the first quarter of 2016. Each quarter, the national menu & marketing consultancy for restaurant companies, founded in the D.C.-area and online at trendystia.com, identifies meaningful foodservice, menu and food trends. These are culled selectively from media and menu mentions, foodservice & trade shows, industry sources and research experts, and aggregated for the benefit of restaurateurs. Among the top food trends with immediate potential and short-term development opportunity for restaurateurs are fermented foods, free-from labels, seeds and portable & upscaled soup.

Trendystia’s full list of top trend selections include seeds, upscaled soups/cold soups/broth, fermented foods, free-from labels, small plates, superfoods of the earth, artisan bread, meat premiumization, savory dairy and fire. “Whether we’re talking about seeds, fermented foods, small plates, or any other top food trends, restaurant companies benefit from a strategic, process-oriented approach to menu development and from trend-vetting,” says Rick Zambrano, president of Trendystia MRC. “Watching the foragers can be valuable, but watching the consumer while having a dedicated menu management process that is extrospective is invaluable.”

Trendystia notes that changing demographics, global travel and consumers’ ongoing emphasis on convenience, and ever-demanding quest for foods prepared with more care and artisanal tradition are driving many top trends that can be leveraged by all segments of the restaurant industry. “Trends are quickly-evolving and no longer have linear trajectories, or even start in any particular segment or region; therefore it’s important to quickly narrow the funnel of qualitative and quantitative information restaurant companies have on menu and food trends,” adds Zambrano. “Trendystia helps narrow that funnel, while making trend-vetting an important validating process and company filter for what we’re seeing surface from trend-watchers.”

Subject to valued-added trend-vetting programs that are company-dependent, these top trends have been identified as “most meaningful” for restaurants during Q1:


From the category darling chia seeds to the now famous pepitas (pumpkin seeds), restaurateurs and food retailers are keen on exploring formulation and preparation with seeds, supported by consumer interest in more healthful ingredients and global preparations. Chia seeds, pepitas, sunflower, quinoa (a seed, cultivated as a grain), flax seeds, hemp and nigella are just some of the seeds open to culinary and product manufacturer innovation.

Upscaled soup, cold soup & broth bowls

As consumers focus on more artisanal preparations of soup and broth, upscaled soup, cold soup and broth bowls are not just “good food,” but also great categories restaurateurs can use to build sales. As for cold soups, Industry research firms have highlighted the rise of on-the-go and drinkable soups like gazpacho and on-the-go plant-based soups. In terms of upscaled hot soup and broth bowls, data lead us to believe that unique and differentiated preparations create a reason for guests to visit restaurants and create memorable experiences.

Fermented foods

Digestive health and well-being drive the increasing appeal of fermented foods and beverages and their inclusion in the American diet. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests an interplay between microbiome health and overall well-being, as well as potential disease mitigation, with much more study being undertaken and funded. Getting ahead of the findings is the consumer looking for longevity and well-being, particularly baby boomers.

Small plates/ shareable plates

This trend seemed to be well-exhausted just a year ago, but the social aspect of food and eating inside restaurants plays well with small plates, which help boost business, especially at happy hour, at the bar, as well as during off-hours. The social aspect isn’t just predicated on group outings, but also the favorability of small plates with solo diners wanting to go out and enjoy meals in the vibrancy of the restaurant scene (a trend in and of itself, which is on the rise).

The above food trends and additional trends identified can be viewed in their expanded form at on slideshare, and also downloaded there: http://www.slideshare.net/MarylandRestaurantConsulting/trendysta-oct-food-trends-q1-2016final

  • Fire is on fire
  • Superfoods of the earth
  • Artisan bread
  • Premiumization of meat
  • Savory dairy
  • Free-from labels

Restaurant operators that implement successful process-oriented menu development and trend-vetting programs can confidently target a boost in a restaurant company’s full-year sales results by at least 3 percentage points. Contact Trendystia to help attain the full potential of your core menu, new and LTO menu rollouts and trend-vetting process by emailing success@trendystiamrc.com or calling 301.287.3002 x2.

Trendystia MRC (Maryland Restaurant Consulting) helps multi-unit and multi-concept restaurant operators nationwide make the most of their menu planning, development and implementation processes, and boost their customer engagement programs. From its proprietary RoadMap7 trend-vetting & implementation process to food costing, menu rollout and training support, Trendystia’s accessible menu management services and affordable rates make it a top choice for emerging and established restaurant companies, alike. Trendystia was started by influencer Rick Zambrano, a D.C.-area native and 15-year veteran of the food industry. He started his career in the fast-casual restaurant segment in a high-visibility analytical role, and further strengthened his expertise through consulting, menu analysis, food-trend research and publishing.