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7 Hot Flavor Trends

By: Diana Cholewa, senior analyst, Mintel
Posted: June 3, 2009

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Chimichurri: Chimichurri is a popular grilled meat sauce comprising parsley, garlic, vegetable oil, white or red vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Originating from Argentina and Uruguay, this Latin spice infusion has started to make a presence in the US market. For instance, Cordoba Foods introduced an Original Argentinean Chimichurri Steak sauce in the United States said to be a perfect complement to steaks, burgers, chicken pork, seafood and fries.

Peri-Peri: Made popular by the United Kingdom’s Portuguese-themed chicken restaurant, Nando’s, peri-peri is a sauce derived from the African birds eye chili. Often used in preparing sauces and marinades for roast and grilled dishes, peri-peri has made a notable GNPD introduction by increasing 760% from 1996–2008. This flavor is primarily seen in sauces and seasonings; however, it has migrated into other sectors as seen in Birds Eye Peri Peri Chicken Chargrills prepared meal.

Masala: India is emerging as a major exporter of spices and the use of this country’s spices is steadily rising globally due to increasing inhabitation of Indian communities across developing countries, and a newly developed taste for Indian cooking. As such, Mintel predicts that the Indian-inspired flavor, masala, will be a key flavor for 2009. In GNPD, masala has already showed a substantial increase of 622% from 1996–2008. To further exemplify the impact that this flavor has on the market, masala has even made appearances in mainstream brands as seen in PepsiCo’s Lays and Cheetos chips.

Restaurant Flavor Trends

Restaurants are doing everything in their power to regain dining patrons—from offering smaller and cheaper portion sizes to providing incentives to repeat customers. In addition, they are luring consumers through budget-friendly offerings, while enhancing their dishes with diverse flavors to give patrons a value-added meal.

Pork Flavors: According to Mintel Oxygen, approximately 34% of consumers eat pork once a week or more, thus indicating that pork is a favored food among many. Mintel predicts that bacon, prosciutto and pork belly will be emerging restaurant flavors in 2009. Many restaurants are incorporating these ingredients because of their smokiness and rustic flavor. According to Mintel’s Menu Insights, Janos Mexican Restaurant offers a fall harvest Anaheim Chile stuffed with apples, walnuts, grapes and queso casero that is roasted and served on semi-sweet sauce of walnuts and apples. The dish is garnished with prosciutto-wrapped figs that are stuffed with walnuts, and roasted and glazed with agave nectar.

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