Technomic’s New Flavor Study Highlights the Importance of Innovation

The most familiar, tried-and-true flavors may have impressive staying power on menus, but Technomic’s most recent flavor findings also signal the need for operators and suppliers to stay on top of flavor trends by reinvigorating classic offerings with new and unique twists.

Three-fourths of consumers (73 percent) say that if they try and like a menu item with an innovative flavor, they would be highly likely to return to the restaurant for the same menu item.

Spotlight on Flavor

[View larger INFOGRAPHIC: Spotlight on Flavor]

“In a competitive foodservice climate, flavor differentiation is a must-have for operators,” says Darren Tristano, Executive Vice President of Technomic, Inc. “Because today’s foodservice consumers have such a strong expectation for innovative flavors, operators and suppliers have to help the menu stand out by staying ahead of the flavor curve. Knowing which flavors are up-and-coming and truly enticing to guests will be essential in gaining their dining-out dollars.”

To help foodservice executives understand the latest behaviors, preferences and attitudes of consumers regarding flavor, Technomic has published its Flavor Consumer Trend Report. Interesting findings include:

  • Many of today’s consumers say they are increasingly driven to try new flavors (37 percent) and that new flavors can indeed influence them to visit a restaurant (41 percent).
  • The demand for spicy flavors continues to rise: for the first time, a majority of consumers (54 percent) say they prefer hot or spicy sauces, dips or condiments, compared to 48 percent of consumers in 2011 and 46 percent two years earlier.
  • Flavor synergy is a top trend to watch: Technomic data shows that sweet flavors pair well with the greatest number of other flavors, including savory, sour, smoky or spicy profiles.

Technomic’s Flavor Consumer Trend Report provides comprehensive research on the latest menu and consumer trends for these offerings, organized into five major sections:

Menu Insights—uses Technomic’s exclusive MenuMonitor data to track year-over-year flavor developments on menus at Top 500 restaurant chains.

Consumer Insights—analyzes consumer preferences and attitudes toward flavor, based on year-over-year findings from a nationally representative survey of 1,500 U.S. consumers.

Entrée Flavors & Adoption Cycles—details sauce flavor trends for eight types of entrées and includes flavor-adoption cycles to show the progression (or regression) of flavors for each entrée since 2009.

Outlook: Trends to Watch—explores emerging menu, concept and consumer trends that are poised to impact how restaurant operators promote flavor in the future.

Profiles—appendices feature in-depth concept and flavor-positioning profiles for 10 trend-setting foodservice brands featuring menus that are positioned around complex and innovative flavors.

Note: This post originally appeared as a company press release.



Only Technomic delivers a 360° view of the food industry. We drive growth and profitability for our clients by providing the most reliable, consumer-grounded, channel-relevant data with forward-looking strategic insights. Our services range from major research studies and management consulting solutions to online databases and simple fact-finding assignments. Our clients include food manufacturers and distributors, restaurants and retailers, other foodservice organizations, and various institutions aligned with the food industry.

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