How consumers favor flavor

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.


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