A recent survey by the National Restaurant Association shows that the hottest trends on restaurant menus in 2012 include focus on children’s nutrition and local sourcing.  

A Michigan State University Extension report shows that the survey of American Culinary Federation chefs picked the demand for sourcing from the food to the fork.  According to the survey, locally sourced meat and seafood was the top trend in the survey followed by locally grown produce. 

Joy Dubost, Ph.D., R.D. director of Nutrition and Healthy Living for the National Restaurant Association, points that the trend to source local food should be just as important to chefs as the ingredients themselves.

“Local sourcing of everything – from meat and fish, to produce, to alcoholic beverages – is another big trend for 2012. Local farms and food producers have become an important source of ingredients for chefs and restaurateurs wishing to support the members of their business community and highlight seasonal ingredients on menus,” Dubost said.

For Michael Ty, National President of the American Culinary Federation emphasized the importance of local food.

"Locally sourced food and a focus on sustainability is not just popular among certain segments of consumers anymore; it has become more mainstream,” Ty said in a statement. “ Diners are requesting to know where their food comes from, and are concerned with how their choices affect the world around us.”

A Mintel survey in November 2011 found that 57 respondents said they would be willing to pay more for food raised locally and sustainably.