Consumers are seeking authentic global flavors on quick-service and fast-casual restaurant menus, and they are willing to pay a premium for these culinary experiences.
“Global flavors are among the fastest growing across a variety of entree categories and mealparts,” Technomic concluded in its recent Flavor Consumer Trend Report.
The report found that Mexican flavors are among the most popular and/or fastest-growing flavors in many types of dishes, from chicken to steak to vegetable sides.
The popularity of Mexican flavors coincides with consumers’ growing interest in trying new foods as their dining habits return to pre-pandemic patterns, and also with consumers’ interest in spicy flavors.
Mexican food also offers consumers some of the most craveable attributes of any type of food. According to Technomic’s Flavor report, craveability drives trial and traffic, with cheesy flavors, savory flavors and spicy flavors as the three most craveable flavors.
In addition, 53% of consumers said their preferred spice range on a scale of one (not spicy at all) to 10 (extremely spicy) was between seven and 10. Hot sauce use has also increased since 2019, aligning with the increased preference for very spicy flavors.
These trends all bode well for the future of Mexican dishes, indicating potential opportunities for restaurant operators to place more of these items on their menus.
In the current environment of tight labor availability and high costs, however, menu innovation can be challenging for many operators.
Operators are looking for easy ways to impart flavor and differentiate menus without straining budgets and operations, and suppliers such as Sigma Foodservice USA can help operators incorporate authentic Mexican dishes into their menu to drive profitable sales.
Sigma’s premade, heat-and-eat burritos, jalapeno-cheese corn dogs and hot sauce-flavored hot dogs offer consumers the authentic global flavors and convenience they are seeking. These items come in a rage of on-trend varieties, including plant-based alternatives featuring a protein-rich, gluten-free shredded meats substitute, for example, and other meatless items such as hot-sauce-flavored bean and cheese burritos, bean-corn-poblano pepper burritos and chili verde popper burritos, which appeal to flexitarian, vegetarian, and vegan consumers.
Meat lovers can choose from options such as all-beef hot dogs, flavored sausages including new chicken and beef breakfast sausages and classic chicken, pork and turkey hot dogs.
In addition to offering authentic flavors and craveability, these items also provide convenient, hand-held meal and snack solutions for today’s consumers on the go.
The culinary innovation experts at Sigma Foodservice USA can provide restaurants with all the support operators need to implement new, everyday menu items or limited-time offers that appeal to today’s consumers. This includes data-driven consumer and operator insights, recipe, ingredient and product development collaboration, print and digital marketing collateral, point of sale materials, industry show presence and online promotional support.