In early spring I always look forward to the results of the Canadian Chef Survey put out by Restaurants Canada. I’m excited to see what foods are popular on menus and I consider what I might be able to produce to fulfill this potential demand.
For those of you who familiar with this survey, it provides an overview of the current food trends in Canada’s restaurant industry as measured by the chefs. It’s full report runs through a number of foodie categories (produce, proteins, seasonings, desserts, method of preparation, menus, etc…) and then ranks the overall top trends.
Sadly, the full report is not available to the public this year but you can at still check out the overall top trends. Over the past few years I’ve seen “local” and “sustainable” foods inching their way up the charts. It’s great to see their positions this year!
This information could be useful in developing relationships with restaurants and chefs. It shows you’ve done some research and you can use it as common ground for a conversation around your willingness to produce specialty items for your customers.
As farmers we should consider these trends even if we don’t sell to chefs and restaurants. Foodie fads have a way of trickling down the food chain into the mainstream and before long our farmers market customers will be clamouring for more of these things too. Consider your region as well. Are you in or near a foodie forward hotspot like Montreal, Vancouver, or Toronto? In urban centres, trends tend to burn hot for a while and loose steam as fickle foodies move on to the next big thing. If you’re in a rural community you might still be a ways off from seeing an increase in popularity of some of these items. Keep these factors in mind before you alter your whole crop plan for the season!
Have you seen this popularity reflected in your region? What market trends are driving your crop planning for the year? Would you incorporate these trends into your production? Are you growing a specific product for a local chef or restaurant? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.