We keep hearing about Americans’ increasingly sophisticated palates, but how adventurous are today’s restaurant customers? While some are eager to experiment with new flavors and cuisines, there’s a counter-trend toward back-to-roots comfort foods, reports Technomic’s American Express MarketingBriefing. And according to Mintel’s Innovation on the Menu: Flavor Trends, some familiar flavors are leading the pack.
The majority of Americans take a middle road when it comes to flavor innovation:
- 64% of respondents in the MarketBriefing survey try new flavors on occasion
- 15% regularly seek new flavors
- 21% prefer to stick to favorite flavors
- Frequent diners are more likely to seek out exciting flavors, especially in fine-dining. 78% expect upscale restaurants to offer interesting flavors on the menu and 63% are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers new and/or innovative flavors
- The familiar flavors of Italy, Mexico and China still rate as the top three cuisine types consumers want to see on restaurant menus, coming in at 53%, 47% and 42% respectively, Mintel notes. These are followed by Tex-Mex, Japanese, Cajun/Creole, Greek, Thai, Spanish and French
- MarketBriefing respondents named the same “big three cuisines” as their favorites—Italian, Chinese and Mexican in that order—Moroccan and Mediterranean also made the top ten in place of Tex-Mex and Greek