Foodservice Trends Point to Pork’s Power

Last week’s National Restaurant Association Show covered a wide variety of modern tastes and trends. Although pork didn’t make many headlines, a closer look at the show reveals some promising takeaways for our industry.

Starting with the 2019 Food and Beverage (FABI) Awards presented at the show, innovative items featuring pork reflected what our Insight to Action data has found: multicultural is mainstream. Two of this year’s FABI awards featured pork dishes prepared and packaged for scale: Grecian Delight Foods “Ready Carved Al Pastor Pork Slices,” and Mama La’s Kitchen’s “Cajun Boudin Eggrolls.” As we’ll cover in the coming weeks, boudin is an exciting trend we’re seeing emerge in foodservice.

In addition to these, FABI also awarded Jimmy Dean’s Sausage and Gravy Stuffed Hash Brown and Ham and Cheese Stuffed Hash Brown. FABI notes, as we’ve also seen in our research, that breakfast and all-day snacking are on the rise – a trend that provides pork and its breakfast cuts a chance to shine all day.

Trends at the show also included globally inspired culinary solutions that meet consumer demands. Cuisines from Latin America are adding a world of flavor to catering menus, and hors d’oeuvres, appetizers and snacks are proving more popular. This allows restaurants and consumers more opportunities for experimentation, adventure and trial without much risk. Pork appetizers featured at the show included pork belly with curry coconut sauce, specialty cured pork and sausages, and pork wings.

On the last day of the show, Sysco devoted a showcase at its Culinary Experience Center to pork with its “2019: The Year of Pork” session. Sysco chefs Ojan Bagher and Armando Pomales discussed trends in pork and how restaurants can serve more than just bacon and chops, using different cuts across all dayparts.

These trends and topics all echo the findings we’ve uncovered in our research: consumers want pork when they dine out, especially multicultural dishes, and chefs want to cook with pork and enjoy experimenting with new flavors. But helping new pork dishes succeed at scale requires innovation, from more access to a wider variety of cuts to new prepared foods and packaging techniques.

Did you attend the show? See something that sparked an idea that our team can assist with? Let me know!

Angie Krieger

Angie Krieger

Assistant Vice President, Channel Outreach

National Pork Board Cell: 319-594-4000 akrieger@pork.org