Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development



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By Flavor & The Menu
July 28, 2022


With a laser focus on the impact Gen Z has on the foodservice industry, the National Peanut Board hosted its annual Next Gen Food Summit at The Culinary Institute of America at Copia in Napa Valley, exploring the mindset and menu preferences of this powerful and influential demographic. During the two-day event, attendees participated in sessions dedicated to consumer insights, menu trends and the subtle but significant characteristics of Gen Z. This generation is more globally focused, more socially aware and more adventurous when it comes to food, and the Next Gen Food Summit’s goal is to translate these preferences and learnings to the future of menu and product marketing and development. Presenters included foodservice chefs, recipe developers, CPG brands, food media and Gen Z content creators, looking at trends and behavioral preferences, and ultimately incorporating ways to leverage the power and all-important versatility of peanuts on menus for the future.

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From left to right: Ryan Lepicier, National Peanut Board Chief Marketing Officer; Erika Welsh, Wild Friends Foods CEO and Co-Founder; chefs Victor Gielisse and Lisa Brefere, Culinary Institute of America Consulting Partners; and Carol Podolak, BNutty Co-Founder (left). Cynthia Lara, Applebee’s Executive Chef of Culinary Innovation, discussed the content inspirations of Gen Z social media influencers with chefs and content creators Kai Kani and Gabriel Lewis (right).

The highlight of the Next Gen Food Summit is a day spent in the Copia kitchens in a hands-on culinary immersion that showcases the versatility of peanuts, in all formats, in menu applications. In this Market Basket Challenge, teams of attendees took the trends and learnings of the event’s content and innovated around flavor and format, to highlight the ways in which peanut products can showcase trend-forward opportunities that appeal to younger consumers. Featured here are creative dishes resulting from the Summit’s team culinary challenge, offering menu-development inspiration for forward-looking menus.

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Roasted corn ribs coated in a peanut, soy and ginger emulsion with a charred flank steak in jicama slaw (left). Grilled pineapple with brown butter-toasted peanut butter caramel sauce (right).

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Asian-inspired peanut butter-marinated flank steak with miso-ginger celery root-potato leek purée; atop boiled peanut succotash with a spicy peanut butter Thai sauce; peanut flour-dusted grilled shrimp and peanut chutney (left). Crispy shrimp tostadas with Mexican barley and roasted mushrooms topped with a spiced asparagus-corn salsa with peanut baba ghanoush (right).

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Vegetable succotash with seared shrimp, peanut gremolata, roasted peanut-red pepper pasta and creamy orzo (left). Peanut-tamarind coconut sauce with raw peanuts and peanut butter; seared mushroom medley with asparagus and crispy kale cooked in peanut oil; mustard seed and curry leaf-roasted squash and potatoes (right).

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