From smoky flavors to healthful spices, 'hot & spicy' is one of the hottest culinary trends this year, according to a new report by Packaged Facts and CCD Innovation.
'Heat & Spice: Culinary Trend Mapping Report' ranks flavor trends into one of five categories.
Stage one signifies a trend that is "just gaining traction among creative chefs and adventurous diners", while stage five indicates "complete absorption into the mainstream and presence on quick service menus and grocery store shelves”.
“Now more than ever heat and spice can play an upfront strategic role to differentiate familiar products or to attract specific consumer segments and demographics", said Kimberly Egan, CEO of CCD Innovation.
STAGE 1: JUST GAINING TRACTION...
Smoke in New Places: "Familiar smoked foods have all moved to the forefront of our menu choices; now it’s time for smoke flavor to move on to new, creative venues like drinks and desserts."
Aleppo Pepper & Co: "A moderately hot pepper, the Aleppo is named after the largest city in Syria. As consumers seek more sources of heat and spicy flavor, Aleppo has come onto the scene in a variety of places. The use and acceptance of Aleppo pepper and other Middle Eastern flavors is a sign of the continuing globalization of our pantry."
STAGE 2: GAINING MORE TRACTION...
Hatch Chiles. "Hatch doesn’t refer to one specific pepper but rather a species of cultivated chile peppers that grow in and around Hatch, New Mexico. The Hatch chile trend is about celebrating authentic flavors and highlighting regional specialties in menu and product development."
Gochujang. "Korean food has become one of today’s hottest cuisines, and with it the fermented chile-based condiment gochujang. Originally almost exclusively a homemade condiment, packaged gochujang is just now becoming more available, opening up the doors of flavorful possibilities."
STAGE 3: GAINING EVEN MORE TRACTION...
Spicy Sips. "Big, bold flavors are found in every food category, including a new surge in the beverage sector. Going far beyond the Bloody Mary, new beverage incarnations use ingredients like cayenne, capsaicin, black pepper, ginger and wasabi. Whether it’s flavor driven or health driven or both, spicy beverages are making a mark."
STAGE 4: HITTING THE MAINSTREAM...
Healthful Spices. "Long intrinsic in many global cultures, the notion that spices are an important part of being healthy is taking deeper root in the American marketplace. The key to tapping into this shift is creating opportunities for consumers to incorporate healthy spices more extensively into their diets in a tasteful, natural, and fresh way."
STAGE 5: WELL ESTABLISHED FLAVOR TREND...
Buffalo Flavor. "Chicken wings are the classic application, but buffalo flavor and its partner in crime, blue cheese, now seem to go hand in hand across the menu. According to Datassential MenuTrends, buffalo sauce penetration is at about 33% overall in restaurants, with casual leading at 37.7% and fine dining the lowest at 19.8%. The popularity and prevalence of buffalo sauce in all day parts and diets lands it at Stage 5 mainstream status. You almost can’t go wrong with buffalo flavor for a wide swath of fans."
The Culinary Trend Mapping Report is co-published by market researcher Packaged Facts and food and beverage strategic innovation agency CCD Innovation.
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