Gluten-free foods, quinoa, locally sourced foods, leafy greens the top Canadian restaurant menu trends in 2014, according to new survey

TORONTO , March 3, 2014 (press release) – Canadians are going gaga for gluten-free. After a four-year reign as the hottest menu trend, local food has been dethroned by gluten-free/food allergy conscious in Restaurants Canada’s 2014 Chef Survey.

Top 10 hot trends

Chefs identified these trends as menu items and cooking methods at the peak of popularity:

Gluten-free/ food allergy conscious


Locally sourced foods

Leafy greens (e.g. kale, Swiss chard, mustard greens, collard greens, dandelion, beet greens)

Craft beer/ microbrews

Food smoking

Heirloom fruit and vegetables (e.g. tomatoes, beans, apples)

Charcuterie/ house-cured meats

Food trucks

Inexpensive/ underused cuts of meat (e.g. beef cheek, brisket, pork shoulder, skirt steak)

“The Canadian diner has a heightened awareness of food intolerances, allergies and ingredients, and chefs are taking note,” says Garth Whyte, Restaurants Canada CEO. “We’ve been keeping an eye on this trend, and created a restaurant-focused food allergy guide to help our members cater to customers’ diverse needs in a safe environment.”

What’s new this year?

Quinoa was knocked off the list a few years ago, but has made a grand re-entrance to take the No. 2 spot. Food smoking, heirloom fruit and vegetables, and charcuterie/ house-cured meats make the cut for the first time, showing a return to traditional cooking methods.

About the survey

More than 400 professional chefs participated in Restaurants Canada’s fifth annual Canadian Chef Survey. The survey was conducted by independent market research firm BrandSpark International in January 2014. Special thanks to the Canadian Culinary Federation for their participation.

Restaurants Canada (formerly the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association) is a national association comprising 30,000 businesses in every segment of the foodservice industry, including restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and their suppliers. Through advocacy, research, and member programs and services, Restaurants Canada is dedicated to helping its members in every community grow and prosper.

Canada’s restaurant industry directly employs more than 1.1 million Canadians, contributes $68 billion a year to the Canadian economy, and serves more than 18 million customers every day.

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