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The top US restaurant trends for 2013

US brand strategy company Sterling-Rice Group has identified the top 10 food trends that will be served on restaurant menus and line the supermarket shelves across the United States in 2013.

The firm has counselled and created foods for several of the world’s largest food companies.

It says this has given it a breadth and depth of culinary experience to identify trends.

They show health and global realities are top-of-mind concerns for consumers, so look for these to go big next year as they move from cutting-edge to mainstream:

1. Sour gets its day: Fermented cherry juice and sour beer? In 2013, yes, as food palates move beyond sweet, salty and fatty to tart, acidic and bitter.

2. Chefs watch your weight: Chefs are changing their habits and exchanging butter and bacon for broth and beets. The result, better-for-you food that actually tastes good.

3. Asian infiltrates American comfort food:  The spicy and fresh flavours of Thailand, Vietnam and Korea will give consumers a new take on comfort food.

4. Veggies take over the plate: No longer prepared as just a side or salad, vegetables will get their chance to star as the main dish.

5. Kids’ menus grow up: Macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets take a backseat to children-friendly versions of adult dining options.

6. American artisans save you a trip to Europe: With the emergence of local artisans budding in cities across the US, why fly to Paris when you can go to Philly? Foodies can think globally, but travel locally.

7. Small plates for me only: Down-sized plates for sharing will be replaced with smaller, singular servings of meat, veggies or starches – for a truly customised dining experience.

8. Savoury fruit: Look for fruit used with savoury flavours, incorporated as a touch in appetisers, soups and meat dishes.

9. No diner left behind: From gluten-free to vegan, more and more restaurants will offer all-inclusive menus and services to accommodate all eaters. 

10. Popcorn is THE snack of 2013: Sweet or savoury, the all-time favourite (and healthy) snack will pop up everywhere – in ice cream, as croutons.