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Global flavors bring excitement to menus

It wasn’t that long ago that many American restaurants highlighted meat-and-potatoes-type fare and traditional flavors. But consumers now crave the bold, adventurous flavors found in global cuisines—so much so that 37 percent of consumers now report that they’re actively seeking out different flavors, according to Technomic’s 2013 Flavor Consumer Trend Report. In order to compete for share of stomach in today’s ever-changing market, operators need to give flavor-hungry consumers what they’re looking for—making this the perfect time to bring more ethnic flavors to both new and existing menu items.

The explosion in popularity of global flavors is a direct result of changing environments and values within the United States, according to Trip Kadey, Director of Culinary for The French’s Food Company. “We’ve seen so many entrepreneurs from different cultures build restaurants and food trucks here,” he says. “These ethnic flavors are more approachable and accessible than ever before.”

And it’s not only adults who are seeking out new and exciting flavors. According to Kadey, children and teenagers are increasingly accepting of ethnic flavors—especially Asian. Therefore, incorporating these influences can be profitable for restaurants that cater to families as well as those that primarily serve millennials or baby boomers.

It’s easy to see why consumers of all ages have gone crazy for Asian flavors. Chinese, Korean, Japanese and other Asian cuisines feature multidimensional flavors; they hit spicy, sweet, sour and bitter notes. Thus, these flavors are very craveable, according to Kadey. “Asian is huge; it’s firing on all cylinders,” he says. “These cuisines feature a multitude of new and on-trend flavors, like kimchi, which is sour and bitter.” Kadey also notes that the carriers and platforms typically found in Asian cuisines, such as baos, tend to be perceived as lighter, so they’re effective vehicles for very flavorful foods.

To help operators easily menu this trend, FRANK’S® REDHOT® now offers its classic hot sauce in three new globally-inspired flavors: Sriracha Chili Sauce, Asian Sweet Ginger Sauce and Sweet Chili Sauce. Each of these new sauces, according to Kadey, was designed as a unique spin on popular Asian flavors. “They’re very versatile, and they can be easily used to create beautifully designed and seasoned sauces,” he says.

  • Sriracha Chili Sauce: Combining the flavors of cayenne pepper and jalapeño, Kadey says this sauce was purposely designed to be a little less hot than traditional Sriracha. “This sauce focuses on the flavor of the peppers first, and then the heat,” he explains.
  • Asian Sweet Ginger Sauce: “This is a pioneering venture; there’s not anything like this on the market,” says Kadey. “A blend of ginger, tomato, citrus and garlic makes this sauce vibrant and bright.”
  • Sweet Chili Sauce: FRANK’S® REDHOT® took a bit of a different course with their version of this popular sauce. They incorporated the traditional, authentic Thai chili and garlic but chose not to include fish sauce or bonito flakes, which gives this sauce a less pungent aroma and a cleaner flavor. Leaving out these ingredients, Kadey says, also makes this version vegetarian.

This post is sponsored by FRANK'S® REDHOT®

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