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National Restaurant Association: Cannabis the Hottest Food Trend for 2019

By David Jenison on April 19, 2019

The latest National Restaurant Association survey leaves little doubt that cannabis is the hottest food trend in the country right now.

The 650 professional chefs who took part in the annual What's Hot Culinary Survey had to rank 140 different trends as either "hot," "yesterday's news" or "perennial favorite," and cannabis/CBD-infused drinks ranked as the hottest trend of the year. What do the chefs think is the second-hottest trend?
Cannabis/CBD-infused food.

"Nearly 77 percent of the chefs ranked cannabis/CBD-infused drinks as the No. 1 trend, and 76 percent of them tapped cannabis/CBD-infused food as the second most popular," according to the report. "Chefs who participated in the survey said infusing foods with the ingredients could create unique cuisine opportunities and potential new markets for experiential dining occasions."

Tap 42, a craft bar and restaurant with locations throughout South Florida, epitomizes the trend with cocktails like the Gin 'N Chronic (Tanqueray gin, tonic syrup, sage, orange, peppercorns and CBD-infused butterfly pea tea) and the Hangover Cure Shot (Absolut vodka, peach, lemon and CBD-infused butterfly pea tea).

"Infusions bring versatility to the art of mixology by allowing multiple and more pronounced flavors than a standalone ingredient. As I craft a cocktail, I have the ability to use these infused flavors without slowing down my method," says Paige Nast, Corporate Beverage Director of Tap 42. "Within the next few years, I expect this trend to continue using new cutting edge and exciting ingredients like we are seeing with CBD oil."

With the year's top two trends both being federal crimes, the National Restaurant Association (we're guessing they prefer to avoid an NRA abbreviation) noted, "Operators are urged to follow all laws, including applicable federal, state and local laws that apply when selling or using those items at their restaurants."

Zero-waste cooking finished third overall with a 70-percent hot ranking, followed by globally inspired breakfast dishes and global flavors in kids' meals. As for the top global flavors, North African and West African finished first and second, respectively, followed by Peruvian, Ethiopian and Filipino flavors. Along these same international lines, the chefs predicted that Thai-rolled ice cream would be the hottest trend for snacks/sweets.

It sounds like a great time to infuse Thai-rolled ice cream in a zero-waste kitchen.

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