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Consumer Trends

Freshen Up Summer Sides

Globally inspired ingredients are showing up across the menu, from appetizers to cocktails to side dishes. Updating sides with new flavors and textures is a simple but profitable way to capitalize on this growing trend.

  • According to the National Restaurant Association What’s Hot 2013 Chef’s Survey “Regional Ethnic” was ranked as number two of the Ethnic Cuisines and Flavor Trends. “Ethnic Cheeses” such as queso fresco, paneer and lebneh, made the number three spot within the Other Food Items/Ingredients Trends
  • Datassential MenuTrends, identifying the fastest-growing ethnic flavors on non-ethnic menus, reveals that Latin inspired items like queso fresco, habanero and jalapeno cheddar have steadily increased in usage since 2008
  • Over the past four years, Mexican fare has bypassed Italian in popularity among restaurant cuisines, making it nearly as popular as American cuisine and pizza
  • The number of menu items featuring the terms “chile,” “jalapeño,” “ancho,” “chipotle,” “habanero” or “poblano” at fast-casual concepts among the country’s top 500 restaurant chains climbed nearly 33% from Q1 2012 to Q1 2013, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor database

Here are a few examples of how some operations are spicing up side dishes:

  • Manito Taphouse, Spokane, WA: Yam Chips—fresh cut yam chips dusted with ancho chile salt
  • Piaggio Gourmet on Wheels, Orange County, CA: Chimichurri Fries
  • Chifa, Philadelphia, PA: Yuca Fries—red chili mayo, cilantro chimichurri

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