Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Menu Trends

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.

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.

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.

Breakfast Breakouts

There are really no limits to flavor play in the breakfast space. We bring you inspiration. Salmon tacos. Avocado chicharrones. Adjarian Khachapuri – a flatbread from Georgia. A Roasted Pear, Spinach and Gorgonzola Omelette. And much much more.

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.

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.

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.

BEVERAGE

INGREDIENTS

PROTEIN

PRODUCE

1.Smooth Moves

With consumers showing hummus so much love, there’s an opportunity for menu differentiation through creative play in flavor combinations—both in the hummus and atop. Jorge Cespedes brings you five creative ways to top plant-based purées, lending flavor, texture and menu differentiation.

2.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

GLOBAL

DESSERT

RECIPES

This shareable dish of Middle Eastern Alaska Fish Cakes with Green Tahini Sauce captures the big opportunity in bringing together seafood, snackability and trending Eastern Med flavors.
Aussie Grass-fed Beef Banh Mi, with finely sliced Australian grass-fed steak, along with Brie for richness.
This Black Soybean Taco Burger is made with a combination of textured vegetable protein (TVP) and black soy beans.

GALLERY

FROM OUR FRIENDS

Give guests a thrill with exciting global flavors
How Custom Culinary® turns trends into reality with exciting new dishes that meet your operational needs, delight your customers and exceed your expectations.
Four opportunities for the sweet side of the menu
Surprising textural finishes offer big impact

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