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What’s the Next Kale? Turns Out It Doesn’t Matter Much.

Sick of blog posts proclaiming that                 is the next kale? We are too, and apparently, so is the National Restaurant Association (NRA).

Last week, the NRA released its Whats Hot in 2017 Culinary Forecast. This annual report surveyed almost 1,300 members of the American Culinary Foundation – chefs and restaurateurs – who were asked to rate a list of 169 items as “hot trends,” as “yesterday’s news,” or as “perennial favorites.” Items on this list range from “bone broth” to “cold brew coffee,” “overnight oats” to “forbidden rice.” However, this year the NRA has changed things up by also identifying a separate list of top food concepts.

Concept-Driven Restaurants

So why doesn’t kale matter anymore? Turns out, consumers don’t want to be told what trendy foods are, they wish to discover what out there fits with their values.

“Menu trends today are beginning to shift from ingredient-based items to concept-based ideas, mirroring how consumers tend to adapt their activities to their overall lifestyle philosophies, such as environmental sustainability and nutrition.”

— Hudson Riehle, SVP of the NRA’s research and knowledge group

The top ‘hot concepts’ are hyper-local sourcing like on-site gardens and made-in-house condiments, chef-driven fast-casual concepts, and natural ingredients/clean menus. Coming in at number four? Environmental sustainability. Clearly consumers are clamboring for exactly what we stand for at Green City Growers.

Top Food Trends for 2017

Okay, still a bit curious about what the next kale is? The National Restaurant Association crunched those numbers too:


Not Just a Trend

This year, GCG partnered with b.good, the Boston Public Health Commission, and Camp Harbor View to renovate Hannah Farm, a ¾-acre farm on an island in Boston Harbor. The collaborative project produced over 2,400 pounds of organic produce for b.good’s restaurants, and more than 7,000 pounds were donated to Camp Harbor View and Fair Foods. Hannah Farm combines the top 4 concept trends into a neat package that can serve as a model for other restaurants.

b.good and our other restaurant clients like River Bar, The Sinclair, Osteria Posto, and ester are not simply responding to consumer demand — they are helping to shape a movement. We are proud to work with our restaurant clients to help bring clean, locally-sourced ingredients into the mainstream.

Not only are on-site gardens trendy, they can also be an economically viable model. Download our case study about on-site production to see how a restaurant garden is a triple bottom line investment.

Download Case Study

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