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Hyper-local and meat-free: Our changing dining out habits

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Survey of hospitality owners cite plant-based menus and hyper local sourcing to prevail on 2020 menus 

Plant based proteins, veganism, hyper local sourcing and conscious consumerism.  These are some of the things we can expect to see appearing on more and more restaurant menus this year, according to a Restaurant Association survey of hospitality business owners.  

The Restaurant Association, an industry body that represents more than 2300 hospitality businesses nationwide, asked its members to weigh in on which food and beverage trends they expect to become more mainstream this year.  

Kiwi diners should expect to see continued focus on ingredients from local growers and producers on the menus of more establishments this year with hyper local ingredient sourcing ranked as the number one chef driven priority. 

Diners can also expect to see more plant-based dishes on menus with veggie centric and plant-based proteins ranked as the number two and three chef driven trend for the year ahead driven by an increased demand from diners. Respondents predicted that flexitarian diets would become more prevalent.  

Menu choices driven by lifestyle diets was cited as the second most prevalent diner request followed by more plant-based dishes driven by reduced meat consumption.  

The survey of hospitality business owners conducted in January 2020 highlighted the growing demand from diners for sustainable ingredients and reduced packaging with conscious consumerism ranked as the number one consumer driven trend. 

A possible turn away from home delivery is a possibility with only 8 per cent of respondents predicting that menus would be driven by their suitability to home delivery.  

Restaurant Association CEO Marisa Bidois says “The global trend towards wellness coupled with a focus on environmental concerns and animal welfare is having an impact on consumer interest in more plant-based menu items, particularly from younger diners.  

 “We continue to see our members introduce more plant forward dishes as well as focusing on using local and sustainably sourced produce. 

“The demand from consumers on reduced packaging has also seen many businesses switch to compostable takeaway packaging as well as offering incentives for using reusable cups.  

“We also see a continued are also starting to see a renewed focus on use of hyper local and indigenous ingredients and this is certainly an area we expect to see continued growth in over the coming years.” 

Key findings  

  • Hyper local sourcing was ranked as the number one chef driven trend followed by veggie centric, veggie forward cuisine 
  • Craft /artisan spirits was picked as the number one beverage trend 
  • 47 per cent of respondents ranked conscious consumerism as the number one diner drive trend 
  • 27 per cent thought that menus would increasingly be driven by lifestyle diets and 23 per cent by reduced meat consumption 
  • 85 per cent had seen a rise in menu requests relating to food allergies with gluten the most common intolerance.  
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