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Consumer Trends

Smoke & fire alert

Bacon mania is about to reshape restaurants’ dessert and drink menus, but the dining world may yet be spared the likes of pork belly pie or bacon mojitos, suggests new research from Packaged Facts. The researcher attributes the bacon craze to consumers’ embrace of a “deep smoky flavor,” and predicts that’s the element likely to show up in treats and cocktails.

The trend, which Packaged Facts christened Smoke in New Places, is regarded by the researcher as a Stage 1 influence, or a current just beginning to interest “creative chefs and adventurous diners.”

The researcher and its collaborator on food and beverage studies, CCD Innovation, identified two other trends in the earliest of stages. Both involve the use of specialty peppers.

Relatively few menus currently mention the Aleppo, a Middle Eastern pepper named after Syria’s largest city. But Packaged Facts expects that to change because of “the continuing globalization of our pantry.”

One step closer to mainstream status, it asserts, are Hatch peppers, or chile peppers cultivated in and around Hatch, N.M. 

Packaged Facts’ Heat & Spice report also indicates that restaurants’ use of gochujang, a fermented chile-based condiment, is still on the rise, as is the incorporation of capsaicin, wasabi and other fiery ingredients into cocktails. “Whether it’s flavor driven or health driven or both, spicy beverages are making a mark,” the researcher notes.

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