From Aji peppers, amaranth and pichuberries to purple corn and quinoa, Peruvian cuisine is hot, says Packaged Facts

By Elaine WATSON

- Last updated on GMT

Purple corn is packed with polyphenols
Purple corn is packed with polyphenols
Peruviuan cuisine is a hot culinary trend and a “powerful funnel for bringing resurgent South American cuisine into the US food retail and foodservice market”, according to a new report from Packaged Facts.

The market researcher, which kicks off its new Culinary Trend Tracking Series​ with a report on South American flavors, says the soccer World Cup will likely shine a spotlight on Brazilian cuisine this year, but when it comes to ingredients that are capturing the attention of chefs, Peruvian fare is where it’s at.

Purple corn and potatoes

57% of American Culinary Federation chefs surveyed for the National Restaurant Association’s ‘What’s Hot in 2014’ survey voted Peruvian cuisine the top trend in the ethnic cuisines and flavors category; the UN declared 2013 the ‘International Year of Quinoa’ (a Peruvian staple); and the Culinary Institute of America has declared 2014 to be the year of Peruvian cuisine, notes Packaged Facts.

“Purple corn, with its powerful wellness properties and cancer-inhibiting flavonoid, may well be the next core ingredient of power nutritional drinks of tomorrow. Syrups based on its application may soon be ubiquitous in cocktail bar, lounges and restaurant bars.

“Their presence is already growing within eclectic, ethnic and modern-esque eateries and lounges, and their flavor profile is well-paired with the Peruvian brandy pisco and other authentic South American spirits.”

(Click HERE​ to read about one beverage entrepreneur on a mission to turn Peruvian purple-corn-based beverage chicha morada into a household name in the US, and click HERE​ to read more about Suntava's non-GMO purple corn ingredients.)

Symrise - Emigration map
Source: The Symrise 'Sabor in America' presentation in New York

Aji peppers, amaranth and pichuberries

Pichuberries (credit:

Other ingredients popular in Peru that are gaining momentum in the US include aji peppers such as Aji Amarillo and Aji Panca, which bring a “lighter, fruitier heat​” to dipping sauces and snacks; amaranth​ (a protein-packed gluten-free pseudo cereal); and pichuberries, polyphenol-rich fruits that look a bit like yellow grape tomatoes.

As for alcoholic drinks, expect to see more interest in Pisco, a grape brandy produced in winemaking regions of Peru and Chile that is making its way into beverage menus in bars and restaurants, according to Datassential MenuTrends data, says Packaged Facts.

Symrise: America is changing, are you up to speed?

Understanding the impact of the growing Latino population in the US was also the focus of the recent ‘Sabor in America’ event run by flavors giant Symrise at the Astor Center in New York City, attended by more than 100 food and beverage R&D and marketing professionals.  

Emmanuel Laroche: From 2000 to 2010, the Hispanic population in the U.S has grown 43%, four times faster than the general rate of population growth

According to speakers at the event, acai, chipotle, jalapeno, mango, hibiscus, habanero and adobo are now mainstream flavors in the US market while Peruvian basics like ceviche and quinoa have also become household names.

Emmanuel Laroche, VP, Marketing & Sensory Consumer Insights at Symrise North America, noted that from 2000 to 2010, the Hispanic population in the U.S has grown 43%, four times faster than the general rate of population growth.

And in the next 40 years, the Hispanic population in the US is set to surge by 167%, ahead of the Asian population (+142%), the African American population (+56%) and Caucasians and non-Hispanics (+1%), he added.

“In 2009, Symrise knew that food and beverage manufacturers would be facing a challenge in the years to come. We understood that you would need to grow your brands in the changing face of America, so we began the process of positioning ourselves as experts on the Hispanic market in the U.S, with an in depth understanding of its influence on mainstream America.”


Here are two tips from speakers at the event:

1 - Consider messaging that centers around the social experience and spending time with family and friends, as Latino families eat together approximately five nights a week, vs 1-2 times/week for many non-Latino American families.   

2 - Emphasize quality and authenticity by highlighting flavor, freshness and ingredients that align with the Latino flavor profile and food expectations.

Click HERE​ to look at the Pinterest page for pictures of the food and drink at the Symrise event. 

Click HERE​ to find out more about the new Packaged Facts report on South American Flavors.

Symrise-Latino demographics chart
Symrise-US population-source - Nielsen

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