12 food trends we observed at the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices show

12 food trends we observed at the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices show

All the rage: finger foods (Photo: Renée Suen) 

To follow up the Canadian Chef Survey of food trends, we decided to attend the annual conference of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) to see if the proof was in the pudding. Turns out, it was in the verrines (see photo). Our 12 key trend observations, after the jump.

  1. Sustainable sources of protein were everywhere, including seafood and game (kangaroo, bison and tangy wild muskox).
  2. Health-focused products included ancient grains (rice blends), quinoa (in a Toronto-based energy drink) and superfruits (acai berry pâtes de fruits).
  3. More artisanal cheeses are coming—look out for a burger-friendly combo of blue cheese and Monterey Jack.
  4. Finger-ready hors d’oeuvre (fried poutine spuds) and desserts (verrines—think mousse and other pipeables that can be layered in a shot glass) were popular.
  5. Tea was being used as an ingredient in baked goods.
  6. Coffees were almost all single origin and organic.
  7. Pulled pork took a back seat to game meats.
  8. Whole cakes were favoured over cupcakes.
  9. Macarons, those highly sought after French treats, have officially invaded mainstream distribution.
  10. Kefir found renewed appeal as a frozen yogurt.
  11. Fresh heat-and-serve dominated highly processed freezer staples.
  12. Molecular influences were present but few, notably in the form of Adrià-designed dishware at a cost that could rival the price of a meal at his illustrious restaurant.

So far, 2010 could be labelled the Year of Addressing Practical Concerns; many attendees stopped at booths showcasing, among other things, equipment that miraculously polishes large volumes of silverware in two blinks, and pest-control services. In the interest of focusing on what’s healthful, we’re hoping that the latter will be one service innovation in which all restaurateurs invest.