When it comes to eating out, Canadian consumers' foodservice preferences continue to evolve with numerous implications for restaurant operators, according to Technomic's latest trend report. The company has identified five key trends expected to play a role in the coming year:

1. Feeling more heat from Latin America and Asia: Flavor profiles that include Sriracha, ghost peppers and kimchi are expected. Look for everything from the familiar jalapeños and Thai chilies, to lesser-known scorchers like habaneros and Korean gochuchang.

2. Sweet on sour: Sour tastes from mild tangy to aggressive tart are proving popular and penetrating all aspects of the menu. Also expect an uptick in sour ethnic fare like Greek yogourt and kimchi, as well as sour beverages such as kombucha and sour beer.

3. Creative carbs: Expect continued growth of trendy, carb-heavy foods like ramen, poutine and designer doughnuts. Also look for chefs to reimagine traditional dishes with new takes on pastas, pizzas and fries. Indulgent bread uses like pretzel-bun burgers and savoury waffle sandwiches also play into the carb trend.

4. What's not in your food: Restaurants are going to great lengths to make sure some things are left off your plate. And they want you to know about it. Look for gluten to lead the pack of what's not in food. We'll also see increased usage of general menu descriptors like "free," "reduced," "lower" and "without."

5. Kitchen craftsmanship: A do-it-yourself attitude in the kitchen piggybacks the local and natural movements of recent years. Now diners are forming loyalties to specific chefs who display the culinary artistry needed to prepare ingredients like pickles, beer and bitters from scratch.

Read more about trends.

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