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Fresh, Fast and Cheesy: Emerging Ethnic Flavor Trends

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A Middle Eastern dish

In today’s fast-paced, multicultural society, consumers are looking for products to do more than ever. From supporting a healthy life to sharing an experience with others, food and flavor products are changing to meet these demands

The recent “What’s Hot Culinary Forecast” by the National Restaurant Association surveyed over 1,300 American chefs for what they saw as emerging flavor trends in North America. Per the survey, 66% said that authentic ethnic cuisine is a hot trend, while 65% said ethnic spices are trendy.

The report also looked at some popular dishes and flavor pairings that have a good chance of arriving to the West. Among them include:

  • Fast food meets good food. In line with the rise of the health-conscious consumer, products focused on health will continue to be popular. Busy consumers will increasingly be looking for these products at fast food restaurants.
  • Middle Eastern inspirations. Middle Eastern food will continue to become popular in North America. One trend that might emerge is camel meat burger. Popular in the Gulf region, camel meat is a tender meat that is low in cholesterol and offers many health benefits. Other dishes like Kunafa, a sugary dessert dish of dough and melting cheese, might be more familiar to American consumers and quicker to gain ground. 
  • Sharable treats. In addition to healthy products, consumers are looking for an experience while they are eating. Shareable dishes, like ceviche, will give consumers something to talk about while they are eating.   
  • Chicken gets cheesy. Popular in Indonesia, this flavor pairing combines the American staple of fried chicken with nacho cheese sauce. 

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