Flavour exploration continues to be top of mind for consumers. Technomic’s recently released 2015
Canadian Flavour Consumer Trend Report shows that 68% of respondents like trying new flavours of food from time to time, and 18% actively seek out new flavours to try on a regular basis. To stay relevant and competitive, operators are busy innovating menus with new flavour pairings that could become the next big runaway hit with consumers.
One noteworthy trend explored in the report is the cross-application of flavours on menus. Restaurants are integrating flavours traditionally associated with particular dayparts, mealparts or dishes into unconventional options. A recent example of blurring daypart flavours and ingredients is Original Joe’s Restaurant & Bar’s new Brunch Poutine, which features crispy smashed hash browns topped with Quebec cheese curds, bacon, gravy and green onions.
In regards to mealpart mashups, operators are all over the spectrum by using beverages in food preparations, traditional vegetable sides in centre of the plate entrées and desserts in savoury dishes. One recent buzz-generating menu rollout is The Works Gourmet Burger Bistro’s Reese PBC burger. The item features a Reese Peanut Butter Cups-stuffed beef patty topped with crispy onion strings, smoked bacon and more Reese Peanut Butter Cups for added decadence.
So what does this flavour overhaul mean? In the short term, it means that operators should look in all nooks and crannies of the menu for ways popular flavours can easily be applied to existing menu items. Authentic flavours from global or lesser known cuisines also provide new options for experimentation. In the long term, operators may need to concoct more housemade original creations that push flavor boundaries to new heights. Overall, it seems the more unexpected, shock-value flavours have greater odds of enticing curious diners into restaurants for a taste of the unfamiliar.