I’m always interested in restaurant trends, and the National Restaurant Association’s 2014 Culinary Forecast predicts some trends that are worth cheering about. Of the top 10 trends, the words local and sustainable show up five times, and there’s an emphasis on feeding children better, too.

  1. Locally sourced meats and seafood
  2. Locally grown products
  3. Environmental sustainability
  4. Healthful kids’ meals
  5. Gluten-free cuisine
  6. Hyper-local sourcing (e.g. restaurant gardens)
  7. Children’s nutrition
  8. Non-wheat noodles and pasts (e.g. quinoa, rice, buckwheat)
  9. Sustainable seafood
  10. Far/estate branded items
Other trends that appear further down the list that I find positive are Nose-to-tail/root-to-stalk cooking to reduce food waste (#11), half portions/smaller portions for a smaller price and, in my opinion, a more reasonable portion size (#20), and artisan cheeses (#47). In all, there are 209 foods on the trend list.

The 14-page trend report has several other categories including 49 hot alcohol items with micro-distilled/artisan spirits coming in first place and locally produced beer/wine/sprits right behind it. It also lists some technology trends like tablet computers for menus, wine lists, and ordering and smartphone/tablet apps for consumers.

I did a search for the word “local” in the report and it came up 54 times (with hyper-local being five of those 54 times). “Organic” came up nine times, and “sustainable” was used 29 times. These are restaurant trends that I love to see.

Take a look at the report and see what 2014 restaurant trends excite you. Be warned, though. You’ll probably have a sudden craving to head out to the nearest restaurant that serves locally sourced meats and micro-distilled whisky. It’s 9:30 in the morning as I type this, and I’m ready for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants.

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