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Innovation on the Menu: Flavor Trends - US - August 2011

Terms used in the report:

Casual Dining – Full-service restaurant chains with average checks of $8-20 per entrée. Restaurants frequently carry beer and wine licenses. With an appetizer, beverage, and dessert, checks frequently come to $20 per person, though lunch specials less than $10 for an entire meal are also common. Examples of chains included in this segment are Chili’s, Applebee’s, and Red Lobster.

Chain – Chains are multi-unit foodservice concepts operating under a single brand name, such as McDonald’s or Pizza Hut. A restaurant chain consists of two or more restaurants owned by one person or company. Usually, all restaurants in a chain have similar décor and serve the same food.

Consumer Unit – A consumer unit is defined as either 1. all members of a particular household who are related by blood, marriage, adoption, or other legal arrangements; 2. a person living alone or sharing a household with others or living as a roomer in a private home or lodging house or in permanent living quarters in a hotel or motel, but who is financially independent; or 3. two or more persons living together who pool their incomes to make joint expenditure decisions. Financial independence is determined by the three major expense categories: housing, food, and other living expenses. To be considered financially independent, a respondent must fulfill at least two of the three major expense categories.

Full-service restaurant - Full-service restaurants are, by definition, establishments that provide table service. Food is ordered at the table and is paid for at the end of the meal. The segment is composed of several subsegments, differentiated primarily by check size. These include family/midscale restaurants and casual dining restaurants.

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Data sources
        • Mintel Menu Insights
          • Consumer survey data
            • Advertising creative
              • Abbreviations and terms
                • Abbreviations
                  • Terms
                  • Executive Summary

                      • The general economy influences menu and flavor development
                        • Government plays a greater role in foodservice
                          • New media provide new opportunities
                            • Look out below, flavor trends fall from above
                              • Ingredient familiarity and ingredient interest diverge
                                • I trust you won’t lead me astray
                                  • Finally, a definition of comfort food
                                  • Insights and Opportunities

                                    • Local goes beyond ingredients
                                      • Communicate flavor
                                        • Figure 1: Means of learning about new flavors and ingredients, April 2011
                                      • Step away from the price promotion
                                        • Build on what you do well
                                          • Figure 2: Independents outperform chains, March 2011
                                        • Address areas for improvement
                                          • Figure 3: Chains outperform independents, March 2011
                                        • Look upstream
                                        • Inspire Insights

                                            • Trend—The Real Thing
                                              • Trend—Mood to Order
                                                  • Figure 4: Comfort food defined, April 2011
                                              • Market Drivers

                                                • Key points
                                                  • Economic factors
                                                    • Unemployment and underemployment recovery rate is slow and tenuous
                                                      • Figure 5: Unemployment and underemployment rates, January 2007-July 2011
                                                    • Operator confidence waning
                                                        • Figure 6: Restaurant Performance Index, January 2009-June 2011
                                                      • Disposable income flat but consumer confidence sinking
                                                        • Figure 7: U.S. real disposable personal income growth, January 2007-June 2011
                                                        • Figure 8: University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index, March 2007-July 2011
                                                      • Commodity costs hamper innovation
                                                        • Figure 9: Retail commodity prices, July 2010-June 2011
                                                        • Figure 10: Consumer Price Index for food at home and food away from home, 2009-11
                                                      • A changing demographic
                                                        • Figure 11: Population by race and Hispanic origin, 2006-16
                                                      • Salt—The next frontier
                                                      • Marketing Strategies

                                                        • Overview
                                                          • Cheap but not easy: Social networking sites
                                                            • Figure 12: Social media usage, by age, September 2010
                                                          • Wendy’s
                                                            • Chili’s
                                                              • Do you have my email?
                                                                • Figure 13: Arby’s Jamocha email, 2011
                                                                • Figure 14: Applebee’s stacked, stuffed & topped email, 2011
                                                              • Television still rules
                                                                • Figure 15: Subway TV ad, 2011
                                                                • Figure 16: Popeyes TV ad, 2011
                                                                • Figure 17: Taco Bell Cantina Taco ad, 2011
                                                                • Figure 18: Taco Bell real beef ad, 2011
                                                                • Figure 19: Domino’s TV ad, 2010
                                                                • Figure 20: Olive Garden TV ad, 2011
                                                            • Menu Insights Analysis: Cuisine Types

                                                              • Overview
                                                                • Figure 21: Top 10 cuisine types on restaurant menus, Q2 2008-Q2 2011
                                                                • Figure 22: Top 10 cuisine types on fine dining restaurant menus, Q2 2008-Q2 2011
                                                              • American menus take on regional flavors
                                                                • Italian fare favors regions and traditions
                                                                  • Mexican makes some waves
                                                                    • Pan Asian picks up
                                                                      • Opportunities for menu development
                                                                      • Menu Insights Analysis: Top Food Flavors

                                                                        • Overview
                                                                          • Figure 23: Top 10 flavors on restaurant menus, Q2 2008-Q2 2011
                                                                          • Figure 24: Top 10 flavors on fine dining restaurant menus, Q2 2008-Q2 2011
                                                                        • Garlic has global appeal
                                                                          • Spicy heats up
                                                                            • Herbs bring fresh flavors
                                                                              • Smoked sends flavorful signals
                                                                                • Sweet flavors stay the course
                                                                                  • Opportunities for menu development
                                                                                  • Menu Insights Analysis: Beverage Flavors

                                                                                    • Nonalcoholic drinks
                                                                                      • Figure 25: Top 10 nonalcoholic beverage flavors on restaurant menus, by incidence, Q2 2008-Q2 2011
                                                                                    • Alcoholic drinks
                                                                                        • Figure 26: Top 10 alcoholic beverage flavors on restaurant menus, by incidence, Q2 2008-Q2 2011
                                                                                      • Opportunities for menu development
                                                                                      • Restaurant Flavor Ratings

                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                          • Fine dining leads in flavorfulness
                                                                                            • Figure 27: Restaurant segment flavor ratings, by gender, April 2011
                                                                                            • Figure 28: Restaurant segment flavor ratings, by household income, April 2011
                                                                                            • Figure 29: Restaurant segment flavor ratings, by race/ethnicity, April 2011
                                                                                        • Cuisine Interest

                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                            • Traditional ethnic still holds appeal
                                                                                              • Figure 30: Cuisine type interest, by age, April 2011
                                                                                              • Figure 31: Cuisine type interest, by household income, April 2011
                                                                                              • Figure 32: Cuisine type interest, by race/ethnicity, April 2011
                                                                                          • Interest in and Acceptance of New Flavors

                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                              • We know the ingredients we use
                                                                                                • Figure 33: Ingredient/flavor familiarity, by gender, April 2011
                                                                                                • Figure 34: Ingredient/flavor familiarity, by age, April 2011
                                                                                                • Figure 35: Ingredient/flavor familiarity, by household income, April 2011
                                                                                                • Figure 36: Ingredient/flavor familiarity, by race/ethnicity, April 2011
                                                                                                • Figure 37: Ingredient/flavor familiarity and interest, April 2011
                                                                                                • Figure 38: New ingredient/flavor interest, by age, April 2011
                                                                                                • Figure 39: New ingredient/flavor interest, by household income, April 2011
                                                                                                • Figure 40: New ingredient/flavor interest, by race/ethnicity, April 2011
                                                                                            • Learning About New Flavors and Ingredients

                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                • Friends, family, and the name on the cover
                                                                                                  • Figure 41: Means of learning about new flavors and ingredients, by gender, April 2011
                                                                                                  • Figure 42: Means of learning about new flavors and ingredients, by age, April 2011
                                                                                                  • Figure 43: Means of learning about new flavors and ingredients, by household income, April 2011
                                                                                              • Comfort Food Defined

                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                  • Comfort food is meant to be enjoyed
                                                                                                    • Figure 44: Comfort food defined, by gender, April 2011
                                                                                                    • Figure 45: Comfort food defined, by age, April 2011
                                                                                                    • Figure 46: Comfort food defined, by race/ethnicity, April 2011
                                                                                                • Attitudes Toward Restaurants and Flavorings

                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                    • For new flavors, get them while they’re young
                                                                                                      • Figure 47: Attitudes toward restaurants and flavorings, by gender, April 2011
                                                                                                      • Figure 48: Attitudes toward restaurants and flavorings, by age, April 2011
                                                                                                      • Figure 49: Attitudes toward restaurants and flavorings, by race/ethnicity, April 2011
                                                                                                  • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                      • Cookbook Flavor Seekers
                                                                                                        • Characteristics
                                                                                                          • Demographics
                                                                                                            • Opportunity
                                                                                                              • Chocolate, Chicken Comforted
                                                                                                                • Characteristics
                                                                                                                  • Demographics
                                                                                                                    • Opportunity
                                                                                                                      • Flavor Flaunters
                                                                                                                        • Characteristics
                                                                                                                          • Demographics
                                                                                                                            • Opportunity
                                                                                                                              • Cluster characteristic tables
                                                                                                                                • Figure 50: Menu innovation clusters, April 2011
                                                                                                                                • Figure 51: Cuisine type interest, by clusters, April 2011
                                                                                                                                • Figure 52: Means of learning about new flavors and ingredients, by clusters, April 2011
                                                                                                                                • Figure 53: Attitudes toward restaurants and flavorings, by clusters, April 2011
                                                                                                                                • Figure 54: Comfort food defined, by clusters, April 2011
                                                                                                                              • Cluster demographic tables
                                                                                                                                • Figure 55: Menu innovation clusters, by gender, April 2011
                                                                                                                                • Figure 56: Menu innovation clusters, by age, April 2011
                                                                                                                                • Figure 57: Menu innovation clusters, by household income, April 2011
                                                                                                                                • Figure 58: Menu innovation clusters, by race, April 2011
                                                                                                                                • Figure 59: Menu innovation clusters, by Hispanic origin, April 2011
                                                                                                                              • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                              • Custom Groups: Light, Medium, Heavy

                                                                                                                                    • Figure 62: New ingredient/flavor interest, by usage, April 2011
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 63: Attitudes toward restaurants and flavorings, by usage, April 2011
                                                                                                                                • Appendix: Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                  Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                  • Absolut Spirits Company (USA)
                                                                                                                                  • AFC Enterprises Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • Applebee's International Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • Arby's Restaurant Group
                                                                                                                                  • Bob Evans Farms Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • Brinker International Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • Bureau of Economic Analysis
                                                                                                                                  • Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • Coca-Cola Company (The) (USA)
                                                                                                                                  • Cold Stone Creamery
                                                                                                                                  • Darden Restaurants Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • Denny's Corporation
                                                                                                                                  • Domino's Pizza LLB
                                                                                                                                  • Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • Elmer's Restaurants Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • Food and Drug Administration
                                                                                                                                  • Food Distributors International
                                                                                                                                  • Hardee's Food Systems, Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • International Food Service Executives Association (IFSEA)
                                                                                                                                  • International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA)
                                                                                                                                  • International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA)
                                                                                                                                  • International Franchise Association (IFA)
                                                                                                                                  • International Hotel and Restaurants Association (IH&RA)
                                                                                                                                  • McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants, Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • McDonald's Corporation
                                                                                                                                  • MySpace.com
                                                                                                                                  • National Council of Chain Restaurants (NCCR)
                                                                                                                                  • National Restaurant Association (NRA)
                                                                                                                                  • National Retail Federation (NRF)
                                                                                                                                  • P.F. Chang's China Bistro Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • Papa John's International, Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • Pizza Hut Inc
                                                                                                                                  • Qdoba Restaurant Corporation
                                                                                                                                  • Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • Reuters Group PLC
                                                                                                                                  • Ruby Tuesday Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • Schlotzsky's Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • Sonic Corp.
                                                                                                                                  • Starbucks Corporation
                                                                                                                                  • Subway
                                                                                                                                  • Taco Bell Corp.
                                                                                                                                  • TGI Friday's
                                                                                                                                  • The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated
                                                                                                                                  • The Wendy's Company
                                                                                                                                  • Twitter, Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
                                                                                                                                  • U.S. Bureau of the Census
                                                                                                                                  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
                                                                                                                                  • University of Michigan, The
                                                                                                                                  • Whataburger Restaurants LP
                                                                                                                                  • Zaxby's Franchising, Inc.

                                                                                                                                  Innovation on the Menu: Flavor Trends - US - August 2011

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