Fresh off the plane from the always fabulous Flavor Experience in Newport Beach, CA, we’re feeling like the most popular kid in school. Grass-fed beef, lamb and sustainable, humanely-raised proteins were on everyone’s lips, and not just because we were serving them !
Trends Guru Gerry Ludwig of Gordon Foodservice presented his annual “Flavor Finds” featuring noteworthy menu items from around the country, and had an entire section of his presentation about lamb! In particular, he noted that lamb was experiencing an uptick in menuing, and starting to show up in more casual, approachable dishes. Three of the examples were:
- Crispy Lamb Scrumpets with Minted Pea Puree and Malt Vinegar Dipping Sauce at Ada St in Chicago, IL
- Lamb Meatballs with Mint Chimichurri and Yogurt Sauce at the Mudhen Tavern, Los Angeles
- Lamb Meatball with Mint, Garlic, Chili and Rich Lamb Reduction at J. Rocco Italian Table, Chicago, IL
Grass-fed beef and sustainable proteins were much discussed at Flavor & the Menu magazine’s annual trends roundtable. Not only did data from Technomic and Datassential point out that younger consumers are increasingly demanding grass-fed and sustainable meats, but several major chain restaurants told the group that grass-fed beef was all they served, and that Australia was where it came from!
"Grass-fed beef was a hot topic with restaurant operators at the Flavor Experience." said Cathy Holley, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Flavor & the Menu, who had “grass-fed” on a list of trends discussed in her open-forum roundtable session. “One major chain in particular mentioned that they exclusively serve grass-fed beef, and that it came from Australia. This opened up the discussion of the interest and availability in grass-fed in high-volume foodservice. We see this as part of a larger trend towards more sustainable proteins overall, and a reversal of old attitudes about grass-fed vs. grain-fed beef. Chain restaurant operators are clearly interested in this movement."