2018 Top Food Trends Serve Up Opportunity for Increased U.S. Rice Consumption

Overhead shot of laden dinner table with manyh hands toasting full glasses of white wine
Raise 'em high for rice
Jan 05, 2018
ARLINGTON, VA -- 2018 has the potential to be a strong year for rice consumption based on this year’s predicted hottest food trends and concepts.  Last month, the National Restaurant Association (NRA) released its Top 20 Food Trends & Top 10 Concept Trends for 2018, and many of the lists’ items utilize, or have the ability to utilize, U.S.-grown rice.  This year’s trends were guided by NRA’s annual survey of 700 professional chefs from the American Culinary Federation.

“Local, vegetable-forward, and ethnic-inspired menu items will reign supreme in the upcoming year,” said Hudson Riehle, NRA senior vice president of research.  “Guests are implementing these trends in their own lifestyles and want to see them reflected on restaurant menus.  In response, chefs are creating more items in-house and turning to global flavors.”  

Of the Top 20 Food Trends list, USA Rice pinpointed these trends as areas to increase U.S. rice consumption:  ethnic-inspired breakfast items, healthful kid’s meals, authentic ethnic cuisine, Peruvian cuisine, ethnic-inspired lids’ dishes, and ancient grains.  

At least half of this year’s Top 10 Concept Trends have the potential to positively benefit the U.S. rice industry, namely chef-driven fast casual concepts, natural ingredients/clean menus, environmental sustainability, local sourcing, and simplicity/back to the basics.

“This year’s top food and concept trends have ‘U.S. rice industry’ written all over them,” said Michael Klein, USA Rice vice president of domestic promotion.  “The items highlighted, such as Japanese-style breakfast that always include rice, or the rise in popularity of Peruvian cuisine that frequently features rice all provide great opportunities to see rice plated at more restaurants and incorporated in less conventional or new ways, and we will be there to help consumers find their way.”

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