Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

September-October 2018

Magazine > September-October 2018

Sept-Oct 2018 Flavor cover

Street level trends part 2 from Gerry Ludwig, Gen Z, ramen, white bread, cheese trends, coffee cocktails, plant inspiration, and much more including our new Flavor ROI section.

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Stories in this Issue

2.2018 Trends Tour - Part 2

Gerry Ludwig and his team visited 113 restaurants and tasted 1,107 dishes on their annual street-level trends tour, finding actionable insights that can translate onto today's menus. Here's part two in our series, delivering even more on-trend takeaways.

6.Signature Flavor: Sundae Shift

Exploring the versatility of the avocado, this Sweet Avocado Surrender Sundae stars: avocado-mango ice cream, Mexican hot chocolate sauce, avocado whipped cream, chocolate-chipotle avocado doughnut holes, dark chocolate curls and avocado “sprinkles.”

9.On-trend: Tacos 3.0

With tacos, anything goes today. We’re seeing seriously inventive takes on classic proteins, while on the plant-based side, chefs are moving well beyond the perfunctory veggie taco.

11.The Next Generation

As Millennials move onto the next phase of life, a younger generation is nipping at Millennials’ heels, taking shape and asserting itself in foodservice. Coined as Gen Z, these young guns are defined by Datassential as between the ages of eight and 20. What does Gen Z represent for restaurant brands, and how are operators strategizing? We took a snapshot to help better understand these younger dining consumers, coloring in the profile of Gen Z while also outlining a few concepts’ savvy approach in making them loyal customers.

12.White Wonderland

Chefs are rediscovering the beauty of white bread—how it offers structure but surrenders to textural elements, like fried chicken, tonkatsu and fried bologna. We bring you 5 modern takes on white bread sandwiches.

13.Planting 12 Ideas

The veg-centric movement built the road that led to a world of stunning innovation in vegetable cookery. Here are 12 ways into the trend, all serving up creativity and craveability with every delicious forkful.

14.Cheese to Please

Chefs across the country are taking something inherently craveable and familiar — cheese — and relying on it to elevate a menu item. Infinitely adaptable and universally loved, cheese offers a sound strategy in modern menu development. Here’s what’s hitting creative menus today.

16.Deep Impact

Flavor has always been an imperative on menus, but today the expectations are higher than ever. Chefs are outdoing themselves, raising the bar with creative flavor combinations. Access to the global pantry, along with a joyful experimentation in mash-ups, is raising expectations while making flavor possibilities endless. Here are some menu builds that showcase creative components that pack a significant flavor punch.

18.Down to Earth

A case study of King + Duke’s foray into veg-forward flavors. Chef E.J. Hodgkinson centers his menu around the red-hot veg-centric trend. “I wanted to put something on the menu that was veg-forward and still craveable—no trade down for our guests.” He developed the Hearth Baked Lasagna and a “blended burger” special on King + Duke’s lunch menu, combining ground beef and mushrooms in a way that doesn’t diminish the burger’s beefy promise.

19.Ramen Phenomenon

At its core, ramen boasts a deep, savory broth, well-placed toppings and chewy, delicate noodles. Authentic replication used to be the order of the day, but now creative interpretations of ramen are taking hold—as long as the promise of flavor complexity, comfort and a touch of adventure remain intact.