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Study: Three-fourths of Consumers Look for Innovative Flavor on Menus

Posted: November 11, 2013

Reinvigorating classic offerings with new and unique twists is a must-have for foodservice operators and suppliers amid a competitive environment, according to trend forecaster Technomic.

According to a recent study, three-fourths of consumers (73%) say that if they try and like a menu item with an innovative flavor, they would be highly likely to return to the restaurant for the same menu item.

"In a competitive foodservice climate, flavor differentiation is a must-have for operators," said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, Inc. "Because today's foodservice consumers have such a strong expectation for innovative flavors, operators and suppliers have to help the menu stand out by staying ahead of the flavor curve. Knowing which flavors are up-and-coming and truly enticing to guests will be essential in gaining their dining-out dollars."

Technomic also found that many of today's consumers say they are increasingly driven to try new flavors (37%) and that new flavors can indeed influence them to visit a restaurant (41%). The demand for spicy flavors continues to rise: for the first time, a majority of consumers (54%) say they prefer hot or spicy sauces, dips or condiments, compared to 48% of consumers in 2011 and 46% two years earlier. Flavor synergy is a top trend to watch: Technomic data shows that sweet flavors pair well with the greatest number of other flavors, including savory, sour, smoky or spicy profiles.