Healthy options for kids tops 2011 trends

Healthy options in kids meals topped the list of ‘hot trend’ menu items for the second consecutive year in the National Resurant Association’s 2010 Quickservice Operator Survey operators were given a list of 50 food and beverage items and were asked to rate each item as a “hot trend,” “yesterday’s news” or “perennial favorite” on quickservice menus in 2011.

The local trend is not just for fullservice menus, as both locally-sourced produce and locally-sourced meat/seafood appeared among the top seven hot menu items, according to quickservice operators. Also making the top 10 were gluten-free items, spicy dishes, smoothies, organic items, snack-sized items, lower-sodium items and energy drinks.

Here is the entire Top 20 list:

  1. Healthy options in kids meals
  2. Gluten-free items
  3. Spicy items
  4. Locally sourced produce
  5. Smoothies
  6. Organic items
  7. Locally sourced meat/seafood
  8. Snack-sized items
  9. Lower sodium items
  10. Energy drinks
  11. Espresso/specialty coffees
  12. Flavored/enhanced water
  13. Value meals
  14. Flatbreads
  15. Breakfast wraps
  16. Low-calorie items
  17. Low-fat items
  18. Whole grain breads
  19. Mexican/Latin American items
  20. Entrée salads

(Source: 2011 Restaurant Industry Forecast)