Welcome to the November/December issue of Flavor & the Menu. Who would have thought that we would be talking about leading-edge menus by calling out their use of Froot Loops? But we are. Instagrammable, colorful cereals represent one of two paths of modern food and beverage innovation: one that’s led by fun, exciting, cutting-edge ingredients and concepts.
The other pathway is guided by innovation around familiar platforms, like mac and cheese. Both are critical in the menu development process. The convergence of these channels is where menu magic happens, with the trend-forward components igniting core concepts and keeping them on the forward edge of new, exciting and unique.
Froot Loops are indeed showing up in menu development today (see Cereal Drama), sprinkled atop loaded sundaes, crushed and rimming a brunch cocktail or as a vibrant add-in to a pastry. Items like this—whether newly introduced to a broader range of consumers (think s’chug or gochugaru) or reinvented in a new role (breakfast cereals going beyond the bowl)—are a pathway to modern menu innovation by their inherent “newness” in a particular menu format.
Conversely, the appeal of innovating around faithful menu categories like mac and cheese takes the opposite approach: It’s the traditional, time-honored attributes that give the green light for trend-forward advancements. Read Carly Fisher’s Talking Mac to see how chefs are spinning mac and cheese into unexpected, modern renditions.
We take into account this yin and yang within the pages of Flavor & The Menu, giving you plenty of core-concept innovation ideas balanced with ample measure of cutting-edge trends. And while we’re keen to trend-forward, cutting-edge ingredients and concepts, I don’t know that I could have ever forecasted the day Froot Loops would be a trend-forward ingredient. It proves out what we see on a daily basis in foodservice today—imagination, ingenuity and next-level thinking makes anything possible.