Sorry for interrupting, this website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Learn more
Accept & Close

Flavor Innovation on the Menu - US - September 2019

Covered in this report

The purpose of this Report is to analyze consumers’ attitudes, behaviors and perceptions related to flavor innovation on the menu, especially regarding flavor trends, flavor combinations, international cuisine, type of menu item and barriers and motivators to trying new flavors and foods. It examines trends as well as flavor-related attitudes and behaviors by key demographics, as well as by selfidentification as an Adventurous Eater.

This report’s findings relate to a wide range of restaurants, including FSRs (full-service restaurants) as well as the LSR (limitedservice restaurants), that include both fast food (QSR – quickservice restaurants) and fast casual venues.

This report builds upon Mintel’s Innovation on the Menu – US, October 2018 Report, as well as Mintel’s 2019 US Flavor and Ingredient Trends.

"Demand for flavor innovation on the menu is already high, and it’s poised for continued future growth alongside the population growth of the most Adventurous Eaters: young and Hispanic consumers. Millennials in particular are hungry for less-common flavors and ingredients on the menu, spanning everything from sour flavors to seafood sauces. Operators will also need to invest more in international ingredient research and development to keep pace with the quick-moving retail market."

– Jill Failla, Foodservice Analyst

This report examines the following issues:

  • Sweet flavors fall from favor
  • Retail raises the bar for flavor innovation
  • Cater to Millennials and Hispanic consumers with flavor innovation  
  • Appeal to Cautious Eaters with beverages and desserts  
  • Don’t shy away from bitter and sour flavors or seafood sauces  

What you get

What's included

Why buy from us?

Succeed

Our reports will provide you with market data, consumer research and competitive intelligence to succeed in your market.

Instant Access

Buy now and you'll have instant access to the information you need to make the right decisions.

Opportunities

Find out what's next in the markets that matter to you: where opportunities lie and what challenges you will face.

Trusted

A business Superbrand, Mintel is a source you can trust. We have been defining and refining the Market Intelligence mix since 1972.

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • Key takeaways
          • The issues
            • Sweet flavors fall from favor
              • Figure 1: Flavor statement agreement, July 2019
            • Retail raises the bar for flavor innovation
              • Figure 2: Percentage point change in international cuisine consumption, November 2017-August 2019
            • The opportunities
              • Cater to Millennials and Hispanic consumers with flavor innovation
                • Figure 3: Consumer eater types, by generation, July 2019
                • Figure 4: Consumer eater types, by Hispanic origin, July 2019
              • Appeal to Cautious Eaters with beverages and desserts
                • Figure 5: Flavor trial motivators by type of menu item – NET any rank, by consumer eater types, July 2019
              • Don’t shy away from bitter and sour flavors or seafood sauces
                • Figure 6: Flavor statement agreement, by generation, July 2019
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • Young consumers are quickly growing and diverse
                • Millennials make up bulk of parents now
                  • Select CPG categories demonstrate fast-paced flavor innovation
                  • Market Perspective

                    • Foodservice must keep close eye on retail flavor innovation
                      • Figure 7: Percentage point change in international cuisine consumption, November 2017-August 2019
                    • Innovative CPG food flavors
                      • Figure 8: Directionally fast-growing flavors in new US food* product launches, July 2016-June 2019
                    • Innovative CPG drink flavors
                      • Figure 9: Directionally fast-growing flavors in new US drink* product launches, July 2016-June 2019
                    • Innovative CPG snack flavors
                      • Figure 10: Directionally fast-growing flavors in new US snack* product launches, July 2016-June 2019
                  • Market Factors

                    • Young consumers are the fastest-growing populations
                      • Figure 11: Population by generation, 2014-24
                    • Young consumers are the most diverse and will dictate future flavor trends
                      • Figure 12: Distribution of generations by race and Hispanic origin, 2019
                    • Millennials now represent the bulk of parents
                      • Figure 13: Households with own children under age 18, by age of householder, 2018
                    • International travel takes off
                      • Figure 14: Fastest-growing destinations of US residents traveling abroad, 2014-17
                  • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                    • Sugar is out, fat is in
                      • Sour flavors grow for their fermented benefits
                        • Umami is here: MSG and seafood sauces are growing vehicles for delivery
                        • Flavor and Ingredient Trends from Mintel Menu Insights

                          • Fusion menu items showed triple-digit growth from Q2 2016-Q2 2019
                            • Figure 15: Fast-growing food menu incidence, by menu item cuisine type, Q2 2016-Q2 2019
                          • Fermented preparations are quickly growing on menus
                            • Figure 16: Fast-growing food menu incidence, by preparation of ingredient, Q2 2016-Q2 2019
                          • Spicy and naturally sweetened sauce ingredients grow quickly
                            • Figure 17: Fast-growing food menu incidence, by sauce ingredients, Q2 2018-Q2 2019
                          • Spicy and tropical sauce flavors also grow fast year over year
                            • Figure 18: Fast-growing food menu incidence, by sauce ingredient flavor, Q2 2018-Q2 2019
                        • What’s Working?

                          • Fat is back
                            • International flavors are in flux
                              • Japan
                                • India
                                  • Eastern Mediterranean
                                    • Sour flavors grow with rise of fermented fare
                                      • Operators position plant-based marketing around flavor
                                        • Figure 19: Sweetgreen’s email, “3 days — the future is flavor,” October 2018
                                        • Figure 20: TGI Fridays’ email, “7 meal options—no sacrifice of flavor,” April 2019
                                        • Figure 21: Qdoba’s email, “Veggie burritos loaded with flavor!” April 2019
                                    • What’s Struggling?

                                      • Sugar is vilified
                                      • What’s Next?

                                        • Root-to-stem flavors
                                          • MSG revival
                                            • Seafood sauces start to take off
                                            • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                              • Millennials drive flavor innovation on the menu
                                                • Diverse populations also drive flavor innovation
                                                  • Operators can motivate Cautious Eaters with desserts, beverages and snacks
                                                  • Consumer Eater Types

                                                    • Consumer eater type segmentation
                                                      • Over a third of consumers now identify as Adventurous Eaters
                                                        • Figure 22: Consumer eater types, July 2018 and July 2019
                                                      • Most consumers enjoy spicy foods
                                                        • Figure 23: Consumer eater types, July 2018 and July 2019
                                                      • Men are more likely to be Adventurous Eaters and love spicy foods
                                                          • Figure 24: Consumer eater types, by gender, July 2019
                                                        • Millennials drive flavor, spice innovation on menus
                                                            • Figure 25: Consumer eater types, by generation, July 2019
                                                          • Hispanic consumers also drive flavor and spice innovation
                                                            • Figure 26: Consumer eater types, by Hispanic origin, July 2019
                                                        • Flavor Trial Motivators

                                                          • Menu description is key to new flavor and ingredient trial
                                                            • Figure 27: Flavor trial motivators – NET any rank, July 2019
                                                          • Men are more likely than women to try a new ingredient or flavor because it’s functional
                                                            • Figure 28: Flavor trial motivators – NET any rank, by gender, July 2019
                                                          • Older generations are willing to try new ingredients for health benefits
                                                            • Figure 29: Flavor trial motivators – NET any rank, by generation, July 2019
                                                        • Flavor Trial Motivators by Type of Menu Item

                                                          • Consumers are most willing to try new flavors and ingredients in appetizers
                                                            • Figure 30: Flavor trial motivators by type of menu item – NET any rank, July 2019
                                                          • Women are more likely to try new flavors and ingredients in smaller format dishes
                                                            • Figure 31: Flavor trial motivators by type of menu item – NET any rank, by gender, July 2019
                                                          • Gen Z is most open to new ingredients and flavors in desserts, beverages
                                                            • Figure 32: Flavor trial motivators by type of menu item – NET any rank, by generation, July 2019
                                                          • Black consumers are most likely to try new flavors and ingredients in desserts and snacks
                                                            • Figure 33: Flavor trial motivators by type of menu item – NET any rank, by race and Hispanic origin, July 2019
                                                          • Cautious Eaters are most motivated to try new flavors in desserts, beverages and snacks
                                                            • Figure 34: Flavor trial motivators by type of menu item – NET any rank, by consumer eater types, July 2019
                                                        • Flavor Interest by Type of Menu Item

                                                          • Sweet flavors are the most expected across the menu
                                                            • Figure 35: Flavor interest by type of menu item – NET any interest, July 2019
                                                          • Bitter and sour flavors are most accepted in alcoholic beverages
                                                            • Figure 36: Flavor interest by type of menu item, July 2019
                                                          • Men drive interest in smoky and spicy flavors
                                                            • Figure 37: Flavor interest by type of menu item – NET any interest, by gender, July 2019
                                                          • Consumers aged 18-34 are most interested in widest variety of flavors
                                                            • Figure 38: Flavor interest by type of menu item – NET any interest, by age, July 2019
                                                        • Flavor Combinations

                                                          • Savory is the most popular base for flavor combinations
                                                            • Figure 39: Flavor combinations – NET any interest, July 2019
                                                          • Spicy, smoky and savory flavor combinations are highly appealing to diners
                                                            • Figure 40: Flavor combination interest – Top Combination Analysis, July 2019
                                                          • Women prefer sweet-based flavor combinations
                                                            • Figure 41: Flavor combinations – NET any interest, by gender, July 2019
                                                        • Flavor Statement Agreement

                                                          • Consumers are trading in sweet flavors for healthy fats
                                                            • Figure 42: Flavor statement agreement, July 2019
                                                            • Figure 43: Flavor statement agreement, July 2019
                                                          • Men drive consumption of sour flavors, such as fermented foods
                                                            • Figure 44: Flavor statement agreement, by gender, July 2019
                                                          • Most Millennials are consuming more seafood-based sauces this year
                                                            • Figure 45: Flavor statement agreement, by generation, July 2019
                                                            • Figure 46: Flavor statement agreement, by generation, July 2019
                                                          • Asian consumers are the most likely to enjoy trying new flavors in international cuisines
                                                            • Figure 47: Flavor statement agreement, by race and Hispanic origin, July 2019
                                                            • Figure 48: Flavor statement agreement, by race and Hispanic origin, July 2019
                                                          • Young non-Hispanic parents living in cities are leading the fight against sweet flavors
                                                            • Figure 49: Flavor statement agreement – CHAID – Tree output, July 2019
                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                          • Data sources
                                                            • Consumer survey data
                                                              • Direct marketing creative
                                                                • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                  • Abbreviations
                                                                  • Appendix – The Market

                                                                    • Market perspective – GNPD search definitions
                                                                    • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                                        • Figure 50: Flavor trial motivators – NET any rank, July 2018
                                                                      • CHAID methodology
                                                                        • Top Combination Analysis methodology

                                                                        Flavor Innovation on the Menu - US - September 2019

                                                                        £3,435.47 (Excl.Tax)