From a retro classic dressing to what could be the next ‘It’ vegetable, flavors and ingredients from around the world are spicing up kitchens across the U.S. — from fine dining restaurants to trendy food trucks.
South American peppers, Mediterranean grains, Korean condiments, these are merely the tip of the exciting influences expanding the culinary landscape in America.
“South American peppers, Mediterranean grains, Korean condiments, these are merely the tip of the exciting influences expanding the culinary landscape in America,” says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts.
The latest edition of the research firm’s report, Culinary Trend Tracking Series (CuTTS), Food and Beverage Flavor and Ingredient Trends, analyzes the key trends exciting the food and beverage industry. More than 20 flavors and ingredients are discussed.
According to the report, featured flavors and ingredients include:
- Aji Chiles – Growing interest in Latin food fuels the rise of this flavorful ingredient.
- Blood Orange – Inherent sweet and savory applications, in both food and beverages, makes the blood orange’s future very promising.
- Buttermilk – Resurgent interest in old-fashioned down-home foods has put this useful ingredient back on the flavor radar.
- Chai as Flavor Profile – This spiced-milk Indian tea is beginning to make inroads in desserts and other sweets.
- Charring – Intentional charring is a great technique for introducing deep flavor as well as distinctive texture.
- Freekeh – At the intersection of healthy eating and global food trends lies this nutrient-rich ancient grain.
- Gochujang – This traditional thick, crimson paste from Korea is capturing the imagination of menu-makers and consumers alike.
- Green Goddess Dressing – This retro classic, with its creamy texture and herb-and-anchovy flavor profile, hits all the right buttons.
- Guajillo – As American diners become more interested in authentic regional Mexican cuisine, lesser-known chiles like the guajillo are moving into the public eye.
- Harissa – This spicy, garlicky chili paste is an all-purpose condiment in North Africa—and it could be the next Sriracha.
- Kabocha Squash – This Japanese variety of winter squash is poised to become the next “It” vegetable.
- Mustard Seed – Though stone-ground mustards have featured the seed for years, the spicy little beads have been showing up on their own in a variety of new ways.
- Nutella – The branded Italian spread is garnering ever-increasing interest, but the chocolate-hazelnut flavor profile (also known as gianduja) gives the trend a lot more room to grow beyond.
- Pimentón and Espelette – Though similar to the more familiar paprika, both pimentón and piment d’Espelette have broken away from spice-shelf obscurity.
- Ponzu – Think of ponzu as the Japanese equivalent of vinaigrette, an all-purpose dipping sauce, marinade, and condiment.
- Preserved Lemon – This Moroccan specialty is just about ready to make the jump from restaurants to retail foods.
- Romesco – This traditional Catalan Spanish blend of nuts and sweet red pepper is flavorful, attractive and versatile.
- Salsa Verde – This flavorful sauce is versatile, healthy, widely appealing—and quite possibly the next pesto.
- Seaweed/Sea Vegetables – Broader interest in both sustainability and interesting new culinary ingredients has driven seaweed and sea vegetables into the public eye.
- Sorghum Syrup – The artisanal food movement is bringing back this iconic sweetener, which is made from the trendy-again cereal grass of the same name.
- Sweet and Savory Jams – These products are trending flavor-boosters that mix sweet and savory in intriguing and versatile ways.
- Togarashi – An exotic image belies the simplicity of this next-in-line Japanese hot-pepper condiment.
- Varietal Apples: Gala and Fuji – Varieties of apples beyond the usual Delicious and Granny Smiths are attracting attention, in applications both sweet and savory.
- Yuzu – The most popular citrus in Japan gets really interesting when it crosses Western borders to flavor vegetables, fish, desserts, and cocktails.