N.R.A. 2016: What's driving menu trends

by Monica Watrous
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Nancy Kruse, National Restaurant Association
At the N.R.A. show, Nancy Kruse said consumer attitudes are affecting innovation on menus.
 
CHICAGO — An “unprecedented shift” in consumer attitudes and expectations toward menus, ingredients and transparency is affecting innovation across all segments of food service, said Nancy Kruse, president of The Kruse Co., Atlanta, during a presentation at the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, held May 21-24 in Chicago.
 
“We really are operating in extraordinary times,” Ms. Kruse said. “The old rules are being replaced by new realities, and all food sectors are being disrupted. It is not simply endemic to the restaurant or food service trade channel, but supermarket grocery as well. What’s driving it, of course, is the consumer.”

She described a “perfect storm” of persistent economic challenges, political uncertainty and a major generational change that has sparked a profound transformation of consumer behaviors and aspirations.

“If consumer attitudes are changing, their appetites are changing, then your approach to menu R.&D. is changing as well,” Ms. Kruse said.

During her presentation, Ms. Kruse identified five areas of menu innovation disruption.

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