New Proteins, Ethnic Breakfasts Are What’s Hot in 2019, Association Research Shows

Shakshouka, a globally-inspired breakfast item, is a Tunisian/Israeli dish made of poached eggs, tomato sauce, onions, and chili peppers. Spiced with cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper and nutmeg, it is among 2019's food trends.
Shakshouka, a globally-inspired breakfast item, is a Tunisian/Israeli dish made of poached eggs, tomato sauce, onions, and chili peppers. Spiced with cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper and nutmeg, it is among 2019’s food trends.

New Proteins, Ethnic Breakfasts Are What's Hot in 2019, Association Research ShowsWashington, DC  (Restaurant News Release)  Alternative sources of protein, locally sourced meats and seafood, more veggie-carb substitutes, and globally inspired breakfast options are a small sampling of the smorgasbord of food trends the restaurant industry will be serving next year.

According to our new research, expect to see more plant-based sausages and burgers, new cuts of meat, including oyster steak, Merlot cut and Vegas Strip Steak, plus ethnic-flavored breakfast items, like shakshouka, the egg-and-tomato-sauce dish, in 2019.

The findings are a part of the National Restaurant Association’s annual What’s Hot survey, a barometer of food and beverage trends at restaurants around the country. The results forecast food, beverage, and culinary concept trends for the year ahead. The annual survey looked at the responses of approximately 650 professional chefs – all members of the American Culinary Federation.

“Plant-based alternatives, veggie-carb substitutes, and globally-inspired menu items – already popular in consumers’ own homes – are now poised to ignite sales at restaurants and foodservice operations,” said Hudson Riehle, the Association’s senior vice president of research. “It’s no secret restaurant customers seek new food experiences when dining out. Chefs are listening to that request and offering them the foods they want. That’s good for guests and business.”

Staking out the sizzle

Here is what the majority of chefs said about some top food trends for 2019:

  • More than 69 percent of chefs said globally inspired breakfast would be the year’s top food trend.
  • Some 67 percent of respondents indicated that new cuts of meat would once again be among the top food trends, like last year.
  • Approximately 64 percent of chefs pointed to plant-based sausages and burgers as a top food trend.
  • More than 60 percent identified local meats and seafood as hot items, and
  • Three out of five chefs said veggie-carb substitutes would emerge as new alternatives to traditional starches.

The National Restaurant Association and its ServSafe team advocate responsible food safety and handling practices every day. Learn more about ServSafe here.

The complete 2019 What’s Hot survey results will be available in early January.

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About the National Restaurant Association

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises more than one million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 15.1 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and in partnership with 52 state associations, we advocate on our industry’s behalf in states and locations across the nation. We operate the industry’s leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe) and unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF’s ProStart). For more information, visit and find us on, FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

About the American Culinary Foundation 

The American Culinary Federation Inc., established in 1929, is the standard of excellence for chefs in North America. With more than 17,500 members spanning more than 150 chapters nationwide, ACF is the leading culinary association offering educational resources, training, apprenticeship and programmatic accreditation. In addition, ACF operates the most comprehensive certification program for chefs in the United States, with the Certified Executive Chef®, Certified Sous Chef®, Certified Executive Pastry Chef® and Certified Culinary Educator® designations accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. The American Culinary Federation Education Foundation is home to ACF Culinary Team USA, the official representative for the United States in major international culinary competitions. For more information, visit Find ACF on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Mollie O’Dell