Menuing of lamb has dropped slightly in fine-dining restaurants but has shown growth in chains and other independent restaurants, according to a recent report from Datassential MenuTrends™. The July 2013 menu report was commissioned by the American Lamb Board to track lamb's use on menus.
The report noted the percentage of fine dining restaurants that menu lamb had dropped slightly in recent years, yet concluded "lamb remains synonymous with fine dining and offers an alternative to more common proteins." About two out of three fine dining restaurants menu lamb.
The report noted that more interesting protein options such as lamb have increased on menus across foodservice segments. In fact, menuing of lamb on chain and independent restaurants has thrived with a 10-percent increase in penetration over the last five years. More than 16 percent of chains and independents now menu lamb. Lamb is being menued more frequently as a burger protein option. In addition, the popularity of Mediterranean and Indian cuisine is helping to bring menu items such as gyros, kabobs and curry dishes to non-ethnic menus.
Specifying the origin of lamb continues to grow in popularity on menus. Among fine dining operators offering lamb, more than 22 percent specify it as domestic while imported lamb sources are mentioned by about 9 percent of restaurants.
"Today's chefs and their customers want to know where their food is coming from and want to support local shepherds," said Megan Wortman, ALB executive director. "Many restaurants are highlighting the shepherds and ranches that provide their fresh local lamb."
Datassential MenuTrends data comes from menu analysis of more than 1,000 fine dining restaurant menus and 4,800 chain and independent restaurant menus.
Reprinted from the American Lamb Board