Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Victoria Veilleux
February 25, 2020

Source: Barilla Listening Room

1 Shapes Matter

Pasta fans love the variety in pasta shapes. They also love talking about them on social media, and the buzz is motivating chefs to try to stay ahead of “the next big shape.” For example, several New York chefs are currently developing unique versions of casoncelli.

2020 opportunity: Garner attention via dishes that showcase lesser-known cuts and shapes.

2 Classic Comeback

Top 10 consumer search queries related to pasta over the last five years show interest in classic recipes and pairings:

      • Pasta salad
      • Shrimp pasta
      • Alfredo pasta
      • Pesto pasta

2020 opportunity: Consider signature upgrades to the classics, as these have strong comfort cues for consumers.

3 Lasagna Leads

      • In late 2019, several media outlets predicted lasagna to trend on restaurant menus in 2020.
      • Between November 2019 and January 2020, there were 761 media stories and more than 170,000 social interactions about lasagna.

2020 opportunity: Develop timely and unique versions of this popular classic, e.g., plant-based, seasonal vegetables, globally-inspired, etc.

4 Plant-Based Platform

      • Twitter mentions for “pasta + plant-based” increased by 3 times between 2017 and 2019.
      • There were more than 2,500 Twitter mentions of “legume pasta” in 2019.
      • Media coverage of legume pasta doubled from 2017 to 2018, highlighting new product launches and legume-based recipes.

2020 opportunity: Highlight better-for-you and vegetarian legume pasta options on menus.

About The Author


Victoria Veilleux translates her background as a culinary-minded travel writer into curating exclusive culinary journeys for corporate clients. [email protected]