Heat and spice continue to draw consumers to menu items, but diners are also seeking more complex flavor combinations. Spicy heat balanced with sweet, sour, savory or pickled flavors is a trend to watch. Data from Technomic’s Flavor Consumer Trend Report, powered by Ignite, backs up these flavor preferences and variations among demographics.
- 50% of consumers prefer very spicy sauces. The number climbs higher for millennials (59%) and men (58%).
- 43% of 18- to 34-year-olds would like foodservice venues to offer more foods with a combination or fusion of flavors from more than one type of cuisine. The number decreases to 32% and 24%, respectively, for consumers over 35.
- 43% of Gen Zers and 46% of millennials would like to see more local flavors on menus. The demand is higher in regions with distinct flavor profiles, such as the South.
- 37% of consumers expect operators to frequently introduce new flavors to the menu. That number surges to 47% with younger diners (ages 18-34), who express a stronger demand for flavor innovation, compared to 33% for those 35 and older.
- 23% of baby boomers prefer sticking to favorite flavors and rarely try new ones.
- 59% of consumers overall try new menu items to discover new flavors.