As a basic element of life, food is a deeply-entrenched part of every culture across the world and throughout time. Trends in the food industry constantly evolve as people find new styles, new ingredients and new ways to turn their passion for eating into culinary arts. For restaurants and food purveyors to thrive in the modern American market, it helps to be on the cutting edge of the latest and greatest in trendy dining habits and styles.

Looking ahead to the new year, there are several key elements of the food industry that business owners should keep their eye on. An increasing level of consumer awareness when it comes to environmental and agricultural efforts, for example, is playing a big role in how chefs and grocers are sourcing their products. Locally grown and harvested foods are favored more highly among consumers, who view foods that come from small, regional farms and gardens as cleaner, more trustworthy and more natural. As a result, up to 44 percent of chefs surveyed cite the demand for locally sourced meats, fish and produce as the decade's biggest food trend.

Likewise, diners have been more conscientious about their diets, opting to follow vegan, vegetarian, paleo and gluten-free lifestyles. As a result, restaurants across the board have been making changes to increase the options on their menus. Fast-food and other eateries that focus on quick convenience for their customers are expected to concentrate on these efforts in the year 2016 to help meet these demands and keep themselves competitive among new age consumers. 

With bigger focuses on health, lifestyle and convenience, food industry businesses will have a lot to adapt to in the coming year to stay on top of consumer demands.