Consumers Want to See Hot, Garlic & Spicy Flavors on Menus

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Consumers Want to See Hot, Garlic & Spicy Flavors on Menus

Ethnic flavors like tikka masala, poblano and doenjang are growing in popularity.

CHICAGO — The rising popularity for ethnic flavors — like tikka masala, poblano and doenjang — is supported by the fact that 75 percent of U.S. adults are open to trying new foods, according to The NPD Group.

When consumers dine out they want to see hot, garlic, and spicy flavors and foods on menus. Dollars of total spices and seasonings shipped from foodservice distributors to restaurants and other outlets increased by 7 percent vs. year ago in the year ending March 2017, according to NPD’s SupplyTrack, a monthly service that tracks every product shipped from major broadline distributors to their foodservice operators.

Among the top growing spices and seasonings being shipped to independent restaurants and commercial and non-commercial foodservice outlets are curries, like tikka masala and yellow curry, which grew by 11 percent, and chili peppers, like aleppo and habanero, which grew by 12 percent, NPD found.

“The growing Asian and Hispanic populations in the U.S. have introduced new flavors into the American diet and many of these flavors are now mainstays in our kitchens and on menus,” commented Ann Roberts, vice president for SupplyTrack. “There are also new flavors and flavor profiles emerging and growing, which makes it important for distributors, manufacturers, and foodservice operators to understand the impact of ethnic cultures and their related flavors in order to recognize growth opportunities.”

When it comes to Asian flavors, consumers prefer mainstream flavors like fish sauce, doenjang, garlic chives, ginger and lapsang souchong, but Asian pear, galangal, lychee, mango and papaya are making an emergence. Hispanic flavors like jalapeno, habanero, ghost pepper and mole negro have become traditional for consumers, although there is a growing use of hibiscus, dragon fruit, mammee and bitter orange.