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Twelve Foodservice Trends for Twenty Eighteen

Scott Fadden
Scott Fadden | February 15, 2018

As you continue to plan your 2018, Martin Bros. specialists are here to help with our annual list of trends and recipes to get you going down the path to a successful year! What’s trending? What’s hot? How do we stir things up in the Midwest? We’ve got some great ideas for you right here! #Legendary #MBTrends

1. Cleaner Labels

Clean food is a trend that continues to grow. More and more people want to know exactly what’s in their food, and they want to be able to understand and pronounce every ingredient. That’s why more and more manufacturers are removing, changing and cutting back on their ingredients. So if you end up using a clean product, let your customers know. They’re looking for it!

2. Local Sourcing

More and more people also want to know where their food is coming from, and they want to see it coming from local farms and facilities. Martin Bros. stocks many local products, and we’ve added some great new ones over the past year, too. So, support those products when you can. Going local can be such a great thing for our communities, including your business.


3. Quality VS. Quantity

It’s not always about how much food is on the plate. For many, it’s more about the quality of the food and how it’s displayed. Many people will pay more for less if it looks good and tastes great. So keep this in mind as you look at bringing in new and unique items. Many times, you can do much more with less.

4. Ancient Grains

Grains continue to be very popular – especially ancient grains. Ancient grains are unique yet unchanged. They are unchanged because they have been around for centuries and are not refined like modern grains. However, they are unique because they were forgotten about for so many years. Since they are unrefined, they are also more nutritious, which makes them a great addition to menus.


5. Vegetarian & Vegan Diets

While nothing new, recognizing and catering to vegetarians and vegans is becoming more and more important. People are more likely to look online before they dine out these days, so you’ll miss opportunities to grab business if you don’t have options and if you’re not promoting them. In addition, you can make your vegetarian and vegan dishes so attractive that anyone will order them, which can be a great thing for your overall sales.

6. Under-Utilized Proteins

We’re always looking for something new. One of the best places to start is at the center of the plate. Bring in some under-utilized proteins, such as Beef Chuck Eye Rib End (312320), Beef Chuck Eye Roll (937970), Frenched Pork Rib Rack (934990) and Airline Chicken Breast (977580). Prices can often be very competitive while also being a great way to bring something unique to your menu.


7. Flexible Food

We must be flexible and so must the foods we serve. We’re living in a world with seemingly limitless and instantaneous possibilities. Therefore, we must be able to give our customers what they want when they want  it. Breakfast for dinner. Dinner and dessert  for breakfast. The more flexible you can be, the more business you’ll see – especially from the younger generations.

8. Small Plates

Small plates allow you to serve higher-quality food for more reasonable prices, and they also allow your customers to sample several different things. In addition, if customers want to have appetizers, indulge in a dessert or both in addition to a couple entrées, small plates make it more possible!

9. Shareable Plates

Much like small plates, shareable plates give customers the ability to sample several different things, get things started with an appetizer and/or indulge in a dessert without feeling like they’re overindulging. Shareable plates also provide a great group experience; and millennials and generation Zers love experiences that they can remember and share with the online world and with their friends.

10. To-Go

To-go is going! It is probably one of the biggest trends we’re seeing right now. The rise of mobile apps and third-party delivery services are making to-go even easier and more popular these days, too. Food service establishments have to really start evaluating the to-go experience that they’re providing versus what they could and should be providing based on current trends and opportunities.

11. Street Foods

Food trucks continue to be popular, and so does bringing them inside to a sit-down or grab-and-go setting with a little extra flair. Think unique, fun foods that you’d get at a street cart, fair or festival with some added possibilities like plate presentation and endless flavor combinations.

12. Seasoning, Spice, Smoke & BBQ

This trend is nothing new, but the possibilities and new ways to create flavor continue to evolve. Cold smoking is becoming more popular, with smoked cheeses, nuts, olives and more seeing their way onto menus right along with traditional smoked meats and barbecued sides…all with new, unique spice and seasoning blends.
Like these? Then check out more trends from these vendors:




Questions or comments about this article? Feel free to contact us!


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