Next year will see more crowd-sourcing for opinions on food and wine, and less reliance on traditional third-party sources, according to the Lane Food and Beverage Beat 2015, the PR agency’s sixth annual survey of thought leaders in the nation’s food and beverage industry.

Another major trend will see in-depth exploration of trending areas like South America and Asia, uncovering regional nuances, according to the survey, which includes noted chefs and restaurateurs, editors and authors, dietitians and nutritionists, sommeliers and other food marketing experts.

Other key trends:

  • Fast food eschews much of its old reputation, remaining convenient while adding more fresh, sustainable and healthy options
  • Craft cocktail culture continues, complemented by tasty plates from small kitchens
  • Increasingly sophisticated diners will be eating like chefs at “in-the-club” spots, pop-ups
  • Wine drinkers grow more adventuresome and seek out obscure varieties and experiences

 Says Wendy Lane Stevens, president of Lane, “While our panelists certainly note some fads, technology is not one of them; the digital domain is making an indelible impact on the industry, which is embracing new tools on a daily basis to connect with customers.”