4 flavors trending for 2017

spices

From Maggi Spicy Seasoning.

Curious about trending flavors for 2017? The real trending flavor for the coming year is flavor itself.

Spurred by the experimental nature of young consumers, expect to see a burst of global, spicy and otherwise novel flavors on upcoming menus.

In fact, 52% of millennials say they’re more likely to visit restaurants featuring new and innovative flavors, compared with just 35% of older consumers. Some 46% of those millennials say they’re willing to spend more on dishes that have inventive flavors, according to Technomic’s recent Flavor Consumer Trend Report.

“With every passing year, customers are becoming more adventurous eaters, and operators are responding by trialing ethnic sauce and spices from more emerging regions around the globe,” says Lizzy Freier, managing editor for Menu Analysis at Technomic.

Here are some of the flavors consumers are expected to clamor for in 2017:

Umami

Consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with this savory, meaty flavor descriptor. And operators are starting to add it to menu write-outs for a wide variety of items featuring fish sauces like nuoc cham (a Vietnamese dipping sauce), garum (an ancient Roman condiment) and flavor-packed caramelized fish sauce. Umami is also present in paste bases and sauces as well as in fermented foods, another on-trend flavor profile. Mentions of miso, a fermented soybean paste, have jumped 225% at midscale restaurants over the last year, according to Technomic MenuMonitor data.  

Island flavors

Umami notes are also prevalent in Filipino dishes, in which fish sauce, adobo and fermented items are common ingredients. These flavors also play well with the trend of street foods such as lumpia, taco mashups and more. The island flavors of Hawaii are also going mainstream as poke becomes widespread. The raw fish dish is typically served with Asian-inspired sauces such as togarashi, white soy and ponzu with lime.

Global spice blends

Novel spice mixtures from India, Africa and the Middle East will make their way onto menus in 2017. Upgrade traditional curry powder with trending sweet-smoky vadouvan blend. Menu mentions of vadouvan are up 50% year-over-year, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor data. Or, add zip to dishes with dukka, an Egyptian blend of toasted nuts and seeds that’s a popular flatbread topping. Also trending is za’atar, an aromatic Middle Eastern spice blend of sesame seeds, dried thyme, dried marjoram and sumac used on meats and vegetables.

Spicy breakfast flavors

Move over muffins: Consumers are hot for shakshuka, a spicy Israeli breakfast dish that can also be served for brunch, lunch or dinner. Eggs are baked in a spice-infused tomato-red pepper sauce, flavored with cumin, paprika and cayenne. The dish’s popularity signals that diners are open to global and non-traditional flavors for the day’s first meal.

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