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Consumer Trends

Chefs continue to say cheese

Each year, the National Restaurant Association surveys over 1,800 chefs who are members of the American Culinary Federation to get their top trend predictions. The forecast looks bright for cheese, as reported in the NRA’s “What’s Hot 2013 Chef Survey.”

  • In the Top Trends by Category section, Artisan Cheeses were ranked second under “Other Food Items/Ingredients” and Ethnic Cheeses came in third
  • The specific ethnic cheeses mentioned include queso fresco, paneer, lebneh and halloumi, underscoring the rise of Hispanic, Indian and Mediterranean/Middle Eastern cuisines
  • Premium cheeses are going mainstream, according to Datassential’s MenuTrends U.S. Chains and Independents data. Specialty cheeses, including mascarpone, pecorino, burrata and queso fundido are elevating such popular items as pizza, sandwiches and pasta
  • Premium cheddars represent the fastest growing cheeses in chains. Menus are calling out varieties such as Cabot aged cheddar and jalapeño cheddar in items like burgers and mac and cheese
  • Breakfast is a growing segment for cheesey items, reports The American Egg Board’s “Breakfast Beat.” Recent breakfast menu additions include Caribou Coffee’s Spinach, Egg and Swiss Mini sandwich with spinach cream cheese on a ciabatta roll and Panera Bread’s Sausage & Smoked Gouda Breakfast Sandwich

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