Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

November-December 2018

Magazine > November-December 2018

Nov-Dec 2018 Flavor cover

Global bar bites, Instagram hits, mac & cheese, smoke, Lent lessons, trending sauces and cereal. Yes. Cereal.

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Stories in this Issue

1.Going Upstream

At Modern Market - a fast casual based in Denver that serves farm-fresh, artisan food, including wholesome grain bowls, modern salads and toasted sandwiches - director of culinary operations Nate Weir talks about how he worked to source exactly the right salmon, then showcased it in a Curried Salmon Bowl LTO, before developing a Salmon Caesar Salad that quickly became the No. 2 seller in the overall menu mix.

4.Awesome Sauce

Sauces are the silver bullet, armed with craveability, uniqueness and, of course, flavor. Their role in plate composition isn’t new, but the opportunity today sees chefs leveraging the culinary might of sauces and wielding it in unique and memorable ways—all with the strategy of building a flavor impact that knocks their guests' socks off

6.Signature Flavor: Shawarma Show

Combined with the functional benefits of the traditional spices—turmeric, clove, fenugreek and cinnamon—this potato-based take on the shawarma can boast better-for-you benefits—as well as showstopping creativity

10.The Flavors of Mise

The recent Mise Conference presented valuable and relevant content and showcased a number of creative and memorable food and beverage items that translate to on-trend opportunities. Here are four flavor-forward takeaways from the event.

11.Lent's Momentum

What better springboard for seafood innovation than Lent? Seafood consumption up, and there’s a general uptick in excitement around seafood. The pathway to success follows two strategies that walk hand-in-hand today: flavor and sustainability.

13.Talking Mac

Mac and cheese serves up a great platform for innovation. More sides and shareables, cast-iron serving pans, bite-sized balls, unique add-ins, and longer noodles are also becoming the norm among trend-forward menus. Doing something different—and doing it well—is key to transforming mac and cheese from a stalwart side into a buzz-worthy bite.

15.Instagram Moments

Instagrammability is becoming part of menu strategy today, particularly when trying to woo younger consumers. It’s not enough to make plate presentation appetizing. Gorgeous colors, interactivity, unexpected flourishes, tableside drama—all make the dining consumer click and share. Here are 12 ways to shine on Instagram, garnering that social-media love.

16.Cereal Drama

Milk Bar in New York started the cereal milk craze a few years back. Now, operators are maximizing the emotional tie most diners have to cereal, then upping the game by featuring both the cereal milk and cereal in pancakes, cocktails, desserts and more.

17.Snack Time

Today, the snacking category is huge, and the bar bite category continues to deliver a world of flavor-forward, fun choices. Candied bacon, meatballs, tots, veg-centric dishes like Crispy Squash Blossoms are all on the menu.

18.Savory Rice Waffles

These Savory Rice Waffles are an innovative, gluten-free offering that appeals to a wide range of diners. Eggs are whisked together with cooked U.S. long-grain rice, savory turkey sausage, spinach, cheddar, cremini mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes. The mixture is seared in a waffle iron to a crispy golden brown and served with a maple-sambal sauce.

19.Roasted Pear, Spinach & Gorgonzola Omelet

This Roasted Pear, Spinach and Gorgonzola Omelette is a sweet-savory take on the classic, boasting elegant flavors. “Gorgonzola can be overpowering, but the sweetness of the roasted pear softens its bite, and the flavors marry well together,” says Kathy Stephenson, director of marketing communications for Pear Bureau Northwest. “It’s a unique and unexpected combination in an omelette.”

20.Cocktail Round-up

To identify what is being done to drive appeal and sales of cocktails at trend-forward concepts, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits set out on its second-annual fact-finding tour. The standout discovery this year is the creative and sophisticated use of high-impact ingredients that introduce unique profiles to classic cocktails. Based on our research, here are four key opportunities in the cocktail category.

21.Blueberry Breakfast Smoothie Bowl

This vibrant Blueberry Breakfast Smoothie Bowl is a blend of blueberries, Greek yogurt, banana, almond milk and honey. Topped with banana, peaches, granola, chia seeds, almonds and toasted coconut, this complete breakfast features a rich variation of textures.

22.Fresh Mango & Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash

Sensory appeal and a health-minded approach characterize this flavorful and unexpected Fresh Mango & Sweet Potato Hash. Onions, sweet potatoes and mango are sautéed with pancetta, brown sugar and red pepper flakes to create a trend-forward, colorful hash, topped with a fried egg.

23.Loaded Hash Brown Packets

Idaho hash brown potatoes form a crisp, crunchy packet for tomatoes, corn and queso fresco. A fried egg and dollop of chimichurri complete the dish. This summery mix can morph into heartier combinations, such as grilled steak, pepper, onions and provolone.

24.Hooked on Classics

Mixologists continue to introduce innovative new cocktails, but the classics never go out of style. These drinks are standbys for a reason: well balanced, broadly appealing, reliably satisfying, nicely nostalgic. They’re enjoying a refresh as operators look to create new experiences with familiar favorites

25.Avocado Chicharrones with Steak & Eggs

Hearty and satiating, they can be used as a base for chicharrones con huevos or topped with roasted cherry tomatoes, black beans, Oaxacan cheese, juicy skirt steak and a fried egg for a loaded nacho-style steak and eggs. Easily rendered gluten-free and inherently keto-friendly, these Avocado Chicharrones have great potential, from breakfast menus to late-night shareables.

26.Adjarian Khachapuri

Adjarian Khachapuri, a regional specialty from the country of Georgia, consists of the classic cheesy flatbread stuffed, brushed or, in this case, topped with an egg. The uniquely shaped, tapered bread provides a rainbow of textures—crispy brown tips, layers of folded dough/cheese, and the open center with salty cheese and a luscious egg yolk.

27.Wild Alaska Salmon and Egg Breakfast Tacos

Warm tortillas, baked salmon and soft-scrambled eggs join forces. Rubbed with chile powder and topped with lemon slices before baking, this wild Alaska salmon fillet brings a warm flavor profile to the dish that complements the eggs perfectly. For textural balance, the tacos are topped with avocado and queso fresco, as well as tomatoes and red onion.