Mintel: Restaurants to boost menu quality

by Allison Sebolt
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CHICAGO — In 2010, restaurants will focus more on quality and not just cost as was the theme of 2009, according to Mintel.

“Restaurants are redefining ‘value’ on the menu, moving away from the cost-savings that were so important earlier this year to incorporate high-quality ingredients, classic flavor combinations and authentic, old-fashioned preparations,” said Maria Caranfa, senior analyst for Mintel Menu Insights. “In 2010, we expect menus to go back to the basic roots of good food and drink.”

Mintel has named five top restaurant trends for 2010, which include:
1) Simplicity — During the recession, restaurants found that simple sells. Chefs will use classic combinations and simple, pure ingredients.
2) Home-cooking — Consumers still desire home-cooked meals even if they don’t have the time to cook. As a result, chefs will use artisan bread and cheeses as well as locally sourced produce and meats.
3) Retail offerings — More restaurants are beginning to offer some of their food in retail stores. Burger King has done this with its fries.
4) Healthier menus — The next year will see an increase in healthier items on the menu with more featuring inherently nutritious items with fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants.
5) Identifying regions in ethnic foods — With ethnic foods such as Mexican, Chinese and Italian becoming so popular, the move is toward more specific ethnic foods, such as foods from Tuscany, Brazil, Morocco or even identifying North Carolina or Kansas City BBQ.

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