According to the UK beef and lamb trade body’s Focus on Foodservice report, world foods continue to be adopted on menus throughout the country, “reflecting the multicultural market we have today”.
The report also highlighted how meat dishes with a strong southern US or South American influence are “increasingly being served slow-cooked, pulled or from the smokehouse”.
Hugh Judd, foodservice project manager for EBLEX, said that slow-cooking gives caterers a cost-effective way to create wonderful dishes from beef and lamb cuts.
He explained: “With just a little imagination, traditional cuts such as the lamb shoulder and chuck tender can be used to create contemporary recipes that will really standout on menus.
“Talk to your butcher about what cuts are on offer throughout the year and get their advice on how best to cook them.”
The report found that street food – inspired by flavours from around the globe – is showing no sign of abating.
Street food cuisines most popular at the moment are American, Chinese, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Lebanese and Vietnamese, it claimed.
Reflecting the importance of food provenance, premium burgers are helped by the fact that they often come with a back-story, the report said.
Descriptions highlighted by the report include ‘Herefordshire 28-day mature beef patty’ and ‘20-hour braised shin of beef’.
A fifth menu trend, according to the research, is the emergence of the ‘celebrity cooking platform’.
“Not only do customers want to know where their food comes from, but it seems they are also now interested in how it is cooked”, the report said.
“A number of establishments are adding interest to their menus simply by describing the way in which dishes are prepared”, it added.
Examples included, ‘smoked low and slow for 18 hours over hickory and fruit woods’ and ‘cooked in a charcoal oven, which sears meat instantly at temperatures as high as 300°C, ensuring we lock in those rich flavours’.
However, according to EBLEX, one of the key issues to come out of the research is that consumers are noticing the lack of lamb-based dishes on menus.
Foodservice project manager for EBLEX, Hugh Judd, said: “2014 has been a vintage year for lamb. High-quality lamb is currently available on the market and, with the seasonally good supply, prices are competitive, making it a great protein option for caterers to use right now.”
The report also shared data from NPD Group/CREST, which found that consumer spending in the foodservice market grew by 2% in the 52 weeks to the end of June 2014.
However, while the pub and restaurant sector is showing good growth among the under-50s, the over-50s – the group that traditionally spends more per head than any other – continue to drift away.