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Innovation on the Menu: Flavor Trends - US - June 2014

“Restaurant operators don’t necessarily need to reinvent the wheel if they want to stay on trend for new flavors and cuisines. Instead, focusing on how restaurants can differentiate themselves from in-home cooking through authentic ethnic flavors, fresh herb combinations, and unique sauce pairings can garner more interest in a restaurant, especially when all of these factors have a positive impact on a consumer’s dining out experience. In addition, keeping a close eye on changing demographics and preferences both in home and away from home allows operators to develop new menu dishes that are relevant now, rather than relevant before.”
– Katrina Fajardo, Foodservice Analyst

This report deals with the following issues:

  • Consumers are becoming more comfortable in their home kitchens
  • Targeting the right audience for new flavors and seasonings
  • How to garner curiosity for new flavors at restaurants versus at retail

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

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

                    • Market drivers
                      • The consumer
                        • Ubiquitous flavors are still in demand
                          • Figure 1: Interest in ethnic cuisine types at restaurants, April 2014
                          • Figure 2: Interest in ethnic cuisine types at restaurants, trended, April 2014 versus 2012
                        • Spicy can bring life to menus
                          • Figure 3: Interest in spices and ingredients at restaurants, April 2014
                        • Word-of-mouth leads consumers to new flavor discoveries this year
                          • Figure 4: How consumers find out about new flavors and ingredients, April 2014
                        • A large number of consumers are willing to try new flavors
                          • Figure 5: Drivers for menu items with new and unique flavors, sauces, and seasonings, April 2014
                        • What we think
                        • Issues and Insights

                            • Consumers are becoming more comfortable in their home kitchens
                              • The issues
                                • The implications
                                  • Targeting the right audience for new flavors and seasonings
                                    • The issues
                                      • The implications
                                        • How to garner curiosity for new flavors at restaurants versus at retail
                                          • The issues
                                            • The implications
                                            • Trend Applications

                                                • Trend: Experience is All
                                                  • Trend: Greenfluencers
                                                    • Trend: Extend My Brand
                                                    • Market Drivers

                                                      • Key points
                                                        • Immigration and a growing non-White population are spurring flavor interest
                                                          • Millennials are a consuming powerhouse
                                                            • The internet has allowed for free-flowing flavor information
                                                              • The foodie movement
                                                              • Innovations and Innovators

                                                                • Marketing to spicy lovers
                                                                  • Stunt foods give consumers the thrill of new tastes and flavors
                                                                    • Food preparation is creating a new avenue for flavors and spices
                                                                      • Variety is created via new dips and sauces
                                                                      • Marketing Strategies

                                                                          • If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em on the internet
                                                                            • Pinterest
                                                                              • Facebook and other social media outlets
                                                                                • Menuing authentic, international flavors and foods
                                                                                  • Major restaurants
                                                                                    • Regional, authentic flavor concepts
                                                                                      • Seasonal menus utilize fresh, “ripe right now” ingredients
                                                                                        • Restaurants move into retail to capture more share of stomach
                                                                                          • Figure 6: Share of total sauces and seasonings, YTD 2014, US
                                                                                      • Ethnic Flavors and Seasonings/Spices by US Divisions

                                                                                          • Lesser known Asian/African flavors are in demand throughout the US, coinciding with the ethnic population in each division
                                                                                            • Figure 7: Index of Asian/African cuisines by US divisions, April 2014
                                                                                            • Figure 8: Top 15 menu item cuisine types on restaurant menus, by incidence, Q1 2011-Q1 2014
                                                                                            • Figure 9: Index of Asian/African cuisines by US divisions, continued, April 2014
                                                                                          • South American and Mexican cuisine is in demand throughout the entire nation
                                                                                            • Consumers in the Midwest and Southern divisions are still seeking Southern (US), Cajun/Creole, and Tex-Mex flavors
                                                                                              • Figure 10: Index of North/South American cuisines by US divisions, April 2014
                                                                                              • Figure 11: Index of North/South American cuisines by US divisions, continued, April 2014
                                                                                            • Peppers are spicing up the Midwest and West
                                                                                              • Figure 12: Spicy flavors as an ingredient on restaurant menus, by incidence, Q1 2011-Q1 2014
                                                                                              • Figure 13: Top 10 chili pepper flavor ingredients on restaurant menus, by incidence, Q1 2011-Q1 2014
                                                                                              • Figure 14: Index of peppers/chilies/spices by US divisions, April 2014
                                                                                              • Figure 15: Index of peppers/chilies/spices by US divisions, April 2014
                                                                                          • Trended Data – Interest in Ethnic Flavors and Cuisines

                                                                                            • Europe
                                                                                              • Figure 16: Interest in ethnic cuisine types at restaurants, April 2014 versus April 2012
                                                                                            • Asia and Africa
                                                                                              • Figure 17: Interest in ethnic cuisine types at restaurants, April 2014 versus April 2012
                                                                                            • Americas
                                                                                              • Figure 18: Interest in ethnic cuisine types at restaurants, April 2014 versus April 2012
                                                                                          • Interest in Spices and Ingredients

                                                                                            • Dried and fresh herbs
                                                                                              • Spicy peppers/chiles/spices
                                                                                                • Baking spices and aromatics/seasonings
                                                                                                  • Figure 19: Interest in spices and ingredients at restaurants, April 2014
                                                                                              • Trended Data – Discovery of New Flavors and Ingredients

                                                                                                • The landscape of flavor discovery has changed in just two years
                                                                                                  • The internet and hands-on experiences are important for today’s cook
                                                                                                    • Figure 20: How consumers find out about new flavors and ingredients, April 2014
                                                                                                • Trended Data – Attitudes toward Flavorings

                                                                                                    • Figure 21: Consumer attitudes toward spices, flavors, and ethnic cuisines, April 2014
                                                                                                • Drivers to Try New Menu Items with New Flavors

                                                                                                  • Unique flavors will drive menu item trials among consumers
                                                                                                    • Americans are driven by spicy foods and authentic fare
                                                                                                      • Figure 22: Drivers for menu items with new and unique flavors, sauces, and seasonings, April 2014
                                                                                                  • Consumer Data – Overview

                                                                                                      • Men are bold, women are unique (in terms of flavor interest)
                                                                                                        • Millennials and Hispanics will drive the new flavor trends in foodservice
                                                                                                          • As a whole, experience is always the most influential drive in foodservice
                                                                                                          • Consumer Data – By Gender

                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                              • Men use restaurants more frequently, but women are more adventurous when dining out
                                                                                                                • Spicy and branding is a bigger draw for men at restaurants, as they are more likely to be bored with restaurant offerings
                                                                                                                  • Women use a plethora of mediums to learn about new flavors and foods
                                                                                                                    • Women seek unique and healthier flavor offerings at restaurants, especially if it is harder to replicate at home
                                                                                                                        • Figure 23: Usage of restaurants, by segment – Mean, by gender, April 2014
                                                                                                                        • Figure 24: Consumer attitudes toward spices, flavors, and ethnic cuisines – Any agree, by gender, April 2014
                                                                                                                        • Figure 25: Interest in spices and ingredients at restaurants – Peppers/Chiles/Spices, by gender, April 2014
                                                                                                                        • Figure 26: How consumers find out about new flavors and ingredients, by gender, April 2014
                                                                                                                        • Figure 27: Drivers for menu items with new and unique flavors, sauces, and seasonings, by gender, April 2014
                                                                                                                    • Consumer Data – By Generation

                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                        • iGeneration/Young Millennials’ diversity leads to unique ethnic requests; social media is key for discovering new flavors and seasonings
                                                                                                                          • Older Millennials are the adventurous eaters, with interests in spicy and worldly flavors, while utilizing the internet and cooking classes
                                                                                                                            • Baby Boomers may not be as adventurous as younger generations, but seek more seasonings, unique combinations, and authentic foods
                                                                                                                                • Figure 28: Interest in ethnic cuisine types at restaurants – Europe, by generations, April 2014
                                                                                                                                • Figure 29: Interest in ethnic cuisine types at restaurants – Asia and Africa, by generations, April 2014
                                                                                                                                • Figure 30: Interest in ethnic cuisine types at restaurants – Americas, by generations, April 2014
                                                                                                                                • Figure 31: How consumers find out about new flavors and ingredients, by generations, April 2014
                                                                                                                                • Figure 32: Drivers for menu items with new and unique flavors, sauces, and seasonings, by generations, April 2014
                                                                                                                            • Consumer Data – By Income

                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                • Higher-income households are heavier users of foodservice
                                                                                                                                  • Traveling and authenticity is key for $100K+ consumers
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 33: Usage of restaurants, by segment – Mean, by household income, April 2014
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 34: How consumers find out about new flavors and ingredients, by household income, April 2014
                                                                                                                                • Consumer Data – By Race

                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                    • White consumers are interested in worldly, ethnic cuisines
                                                                                                                                      • Black consumers would like to see more ethnic flavors that are tied to their roots on restaurant menus
                                                                                                                                        • Other race consumers gravitate toward spicy, multicultural, and unique cuisines due to their experimentation at home
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 35: Interest in ethnic cuisine types at restaurants – Europe, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 36: Interest in ethnic cuisine types at restaurants – Asia and Africa, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 37: Interest in ethnic cuisine types at restaurants – Americas, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 38: Consumer attitudes toward spices, flavors, and ethnic cuisines – Any agree, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 39: Drivers for menu items with new and unique flavors, sauces, and seasonings, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2014
                                                                                                                                      • Consumer Data – By Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                          • Hispanics will need to be enticed by branded spices and sauces, as well as spicy foods and unique preparations at restaurants
                                                                                                                                            • South American flavors are popular with Hispanics
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 40: Consumer attitudes toward spices, flavors, and ethnic cuisines – Any agree, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 41: Drivers for menu items with new and unique flavors, sauces, and seasonings, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 42: Interest in ethnic cuisine types at restaurants – Europe, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 43: Interest in ethnic cuisine types at restaurants – Asia and Africa, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 44: Interest in ethnic cuisine types at restaurants – Americas, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 45: Interest in spices and ingredients at restaurants – Dried herbs, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 46: Interest in spices and ingredients at restaurants – Peppers/Chiles/Spices, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 47: Interest in spices and ingredients at restaurants – Fresh herbs, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 48: Interest in spices and ingredients at restaurants – Baking spices, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 49: Interest in spices and ingredients at restaurants – Aromatics/Seasonings, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2014
                                                                                                                                            • Consumer Data – By Parents (Millennial/Non-Millennial and by Age of Children)

                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                • Millennial parents, and parents with kids aged 6-17, are more internet savvy, especially in regard to finding new flavors
                                                                                                                                                  • Branding at grocery stores and menus is helpful for Millennial parents
                                                                                                                                                    • Restaurant foods that aren’t up to par among parents with kids aged 6-11 has them turning to cooking at home
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 50: How consumers find out about new flavors and ingredients, by millennial parent, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 51: How consumers find out about new flavors and ingredients, by parents with children and age, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 52: Consumer attitudes toward spices, flavors, and ethnic cuisines – Any agree, by millennial, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 53: Consumer attitudes toward spices, flavors, and ethnic cuisines – Any agree, by parents with children and age, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 54: Drivers for menu items with new and unique flavors, sauces, and seasonings, by millennial parent, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 55: Drivers for menu items with new and unique flavors, sauces, and seasonings, by parents with children and age, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – By Generation

                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 56: Usage of restaurants, by segment – Mean, by generations, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 57: Interest in spices and ingredients at restaurants – Dried herbs, by generations, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 58: Interest in spices and ingredients at restaurants – Peppers/Chiles/Spices, by generations, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 59: Interest in spices and ingredients at restaurants – Fresh herbs, by generations, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 60: Interest in spices and ingredients at restaurants – Baking spices, by generations, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 61: Interest in spices and ingredients at restaurants – Aromatics/Seasonings, by generations, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 62: Consumer attitudes toward spices, flavors, and ethnic cuisines – Any agree, by generations, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 63: Drivers for menu items with new and unique flavors, sauces, and seasonings, by generations, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – By Income

                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 64: Interest in ethnic cuisine types at restaurants – Europe, by household income, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 65: Interest in ethnic cuisine types at restaurants – Asia and Africa, by household income, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 66: Interest in ethnic cuisine types at restaurants – Americas, by household income, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – By Parents (Millennial/Non-Millennial and by Age of Children)

                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 67: Usage of restaurants, by segment – Mean, by millennial parent, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 68: Usage of restaurants, by segment – Mean, by parents with children and age, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 69: Interest in ethnic cuisine types at restaurants – Europe, by millennial parent, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 70: Interest in ethnic cuisine types at restaurants – Europe, by parents with children and age, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 71: Interest in ethnic cuisine types at restaurants – Europe, by millennial parent, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 72: Interest in ethnic cuisine types at restaurants – Europe, by parents with children and age, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 73: Interest in ethnic cuisine types at restaurants – Americas, by millennial parent, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 74: Interest in ethnic cuisine types at restaurants – Americas, by parents with children and age, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 75: Interest in spices and ingredients at restaurants – Dried herbs, by millennial parent, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 76: Interest in spices and ingredients at restaurants – Dried herbs, by parents with children and age, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 77: Interest in spices and ingredients at restaurants – Peppers/Chiles/Spices, by millennial parent, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 78: Interest in spices and ingredients at restaurants – Peppers/Chiles/Spices, by parents with children and age, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 79: Interest in spices and ingredients at restaurants – Fresh herbs, by millennial parent, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 80: Interest in spices and ingredients at restaurants – Fresh herbs, by parents with children and age, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 81: Interest in spices and ingredients at restaurants – Baking spices, by millennial parent, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 82: Interest in spices and ingredients at restaurants – Baking spices, by parents with children and age, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 83: Interest in spices and ingredients at restaurants – Aromatics/Seasonings, by millennial parent, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 84: Interest in spices and ingredients at restaurants – Aromatics/Seasonings, by parents with children and age, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Ethnic Flavors and Seasonings/Spices by US Divisions

                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 85: US Census regions and divisions
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 86: Index of European cuisines by US divisions, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 87: Index of European cuisines by US divisions, continued, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 88: Index of dried herbs by US divisions, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 89: Index of dried herbs by US divisions, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 90: Index of fresh herbs by US divisions, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 91: Index of fresh herbs by US divisions, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 92: Index of baking spices by US divisions, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 93: Index of baking spices by US divisions, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 94: Index of aromatics/seasonings by US divisions, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 95: Index of aromatics/seasonings by US divisions, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                    Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                    To learn more about the companies covered in this report please contact us.

                                                                                                                                                    Innovation on the Menu: Flavor Trends - US - June 2014

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