Lamb is a quintessential ingredient on fine dining menus – in fact, it’s one of the top seven entrée proteins on fine dining menus. About 62 percent of fine dining menus feature lamb, according to the new 2018 American Lamb Board (ALB) menu study conducted by Datassential MenuTrends™. This study is one tool ALB uses to track foodservice trends and opportunities for American Lamb.
While the majority of lamb sold in fine dining restaurants is served as an entrée, lamb appetizers and non-center of the plate entrees have been showing growth during the last decade. Lamb appetizers have increased 45 percent in the last ten years. Lamb is heavily favored as a center of plate entrée item but is also growing elsewhere on the entrée menu, with expanding menuing of lamb in pastas, burgers and sandwiches.
In addition to looking at fine dining menus, Datassential MenuTrends™ also explores data from 4,800 restaurants including national chains, regional chains and independent restaurants. Lamb represents a more unique protein offering on these chain and independent menus, and menuing of lamb is up 14 percent in the last ten years and up 5 percent in the last six years. “Lamb is more popular on menus today than ten years ago across all segments,” the study reported.
The study confirms that the interest in local food remains strong and that chefs and their customers want to know where their food comes from. The origin of lamb is mentioned on about a third of fine dining menus. Fine Dining menus call out domestic lamb more than 3:1 over imported lamb.
Other highlights of the menu study:
- Rack of lamb remains the most popular cut of lamb featured on fine dining menus followed by lamb chops (unspecified), shanks and sausage.
- Merguez (a lamb sausage with North African spices) is one of the fastest growing entrée proteins mentioned on fine dining menus.
- The highest menuing of lamb appears on Indian, Mediterranean and African menus.
- Lamb burgers are being found on more and more menus — up 26 percent in last four years (2014 compared to 2018).
For more information about the menu study contact Rae Maestas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: American Lamb Board