Locally produced and inspired dishes, sustainability, gluten-free food among Canadian restaurant menu trends for 2012, survey says

TORONTO , April 12, 2012 (press release) – Local, sustainable and gluten-free reign supreme on Canadian restaurant menus for 2012. More than 300 professional chefs identified what's hot in the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association's (CRFA's) third annual Canadian Chef Survey, conducted by independent market research firm BrandSpark International.

Top 10 Canadian menu trends for 2012:

1. Locally produced and locally inspired dishes
2. Sustainability
3. Gluten-free/ food allergy conscious
4. Farm-/ estate-branded ingredients
5. Simplicity/ back-to-basics
6. Nutrition/ health (e.g. low-fat, reduced sodium, antioxidants, high-fibre)
7. Ethnic/ street food inspired appetizers (e.g. tempura, taquitos)
8. Food trucks/ street food
9. Artisanal cheeses
10. Bite-size/ mini desserts

"It's clear we love our local foods, but these top trends span a wide spectrum of flavours," says Garth Whyte, CRFA President and CEO. "Chefs are reimagining their menu selections to accommodate various customer preferences and dietary needs, while having some fun. From nutrition and gluten-free to street food inspired appetizers, we've got something for everyone."

What's different this year?
Newcomers with 'street smarts' -- ethnic/street food inspired appetizers debuting at No. 7 and food trucks/ street food at No. 8 -- knocked craft beer/ microbrews and quinoa/ ancient grains from the top 10 list. Gluten-free/ food allergy conscious moved up the list from No. 6 to No. 3.

About the survey
CRFA's Canadian Chef Survey was carried out in co-operation with the Canadian Culinary Federation and conducted in February and March 2012 by BrandSpark International, a leading marketing and product innovation research company with expertise within the restaurant and foodservice industry.

CRFA is one of Canada's largest business associations, with more than 30,000 members representing restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and other foodservice providers. Canada's restaurant industry employs more than one million people in communities across the country.

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