Good News For Good Food In National Restaurant Association 2018 Trends

by Bob Benenson, FamilyFarmed

Consumer demand for healthier, more sustainable and more local dining options is rising fast. And this is reflected — as it has been for the past several years — in the National Restaurant Association‘s “What’s Hot” trend predictions for 2018.

The results of an annual survey of nearly 700 chefs across the country, released in December, produced the following list of the 10 hottest restaurant concepts… nearly all of them closely tied to the goals of FamilyFarmed and other Good Food movement advocates.

  1. Hyper-local (e.g. restaurant gardens, onsite beer brewing, house-made items
  2. Chef-driven fast casual concepts
  3. Natural ingredients/clean menus
  4. Food waste reduction
  5. Veggie-centric/vegetable-forward cuisine (e.g. fresh produce is star of the dish)
  6. Environmental sustainability
  7. Locally sourced meat and seafood
  8. Locally sourced produce
  9. Simplicity/back to basics
  10. Farm/estate-branded items


National Restaurant Association

Source: National Restaurant Association


There is considerable overlap between the 2018 NRA hot list and the organization’s trends released just before 2017, showing that diners’ interest in these Good Food concepts continues its growth curve:

  1. Hyper-local sourcing (e.g. restaurant gardens, onsite beer brewing, house-made items)
  2. Chef-driven fast-casual concepts
  3. Natural ingredients/clean menus
  4. Environmental sustainability
  5. Locally sourced produce
  6. Locally sourced meat and seafood
  7. Food waste reduction
  8. Meal kits (e.g. pre-measured/prepped raw ingredients for home preparation)
  9. Simplicity/back to basics
  10. Nutrition

If you support the Good Food principles that dominate these lists, please dine at restaurants that go to the effort to source delicious ingredients produced as locally as possible using sustainable, humane and fair practices.

And to meet many of the Chicago region’s top Good Food chefs, producers and retailers, please save the dates of March 23-24 for FamilyFarmed’s 14th annual Good Food EXPO at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s UIC Forum! Admission is free to the Good Food Festival — our big public celebration of all things Good Food — on Saturday, March 24.


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