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According to the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index for September, 2015, we’re making progress.
This independent, global research group began making its calls in 1916, and restaurant owners and produce vendors like the news they’re hearing. As diners spend more discretionary dollars, commercial kitchens can steer the decisions that drive those appetites by tapping into the latest trends that redefine the ethnic food experience.
The Numbers Go Up and Up
Projected sales for the restaurant industry are expected to hit $709.2 billion dollars this year representing a 3.8 percent increase over 2014. This marks the sixth consecutive year of solid growth that encompasses everything from basic burgers and fries to baby iceberg lettuce salads and dry-aged steaks.
How can you best position your operations to catch these numbers as they sail up the statistical charts? With so many diners willing to spend their time and money away from kitchens at home, it’s more important than ever to identify their current tastes, predict their future preferences and design inviting menus.
Diners Savor Discovery
Currently, some of the hottest spots on the culinary landscape are the ones offering truly authentic ethnic cuisine. It’s not about presentation as much as the discovery of ingredients and cooking techniques that are new to the diner and true to a culture.
The concept of restaurants specializing in ethnic food is quickly moving away from menus that ensure one flavor fits all. The results are a delicious diversity that welcomes customers to explore real authenticity with their palates and their pocketbooks.
Today’s Favorite Ethnic Flavors
The marvelous mash-up of ethnic fusion still draws diners to Moroccan-Indian restaurants and French-Vietnamese cafes, but those extra dining dollars are focusing more and more on authentic ethnic offerings.
Moroccan lamb chops and couscous-filled mini iceberg lettuce bowls are delicious examples of flavors that speak a native language. Interior Mexican cuisine entices with regional specialties from Puebla and Veracruz, and Peruvian aji chiles enchant with a uniquely sweet fire. Southeast Asian specialties earn their place on diner’s adventurous plates with venerable dishes like Thailand’s larb gai. It all adds up to a wonderful multiplicity of enticing menu possibilities.
Staying on top of consumer trends is an ongoing job in the restaurant business, and Hitchcock Farms is proud to be a part of this unique industry that continually brings so much dining pleasure to so many tables.
While we enjoy exploring and analyzing the newest swings and latest tastes that keep this business exciting, one thing will never change: our commitment to raising and delivering California’s freshest sustainably grown produce. From our fields to your kitchens, we thank you for your business.
Dan Holt is an experienced produce professional who started in the industry as a quality assurance inspector in the early 1990s and leads sales at Hitchcock Farms as Vice President. Prior to joining Hitchcock Farms, Dan enjoyed success in organic, specialty and conventional produce and with independent operators, regional and national chains in North America and abroad. Dan continues his passion in produce through collaborative inspiration and promoting healthy and sustainable food.