Kimchi. Pho. Banh Mi. Udon. Bibimbap. A decade ago, these dishes were foreign to the majority of people in the U.S. Today however, these items are not only familiar, but favored. In fact, the latest Ethnic Food & Beverage Consumer Trend Report compiled by Technomic finds that Southeast Asian flavors and textures are moving into the mainstream due to the addition of Thai, Vietnamese or Indonesian twists on familiar offerings. And with the growth of fast-casual outlets like Pei Wei and ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen, this integration is making its way to Main Street. Our neighbors to the north have even added a “Spicy Thai McBistro Chicken Sandwich” to the Canadian McDonald’s menu.
This integration of Asian flavors, in particular those of Southeast Asia, is due to several factors, including:
- Increase in Asian population rates across the U.S. – projected to grow by 137% over the next 40 years
- Growing consumer interest in bolder flavor profiles
- Change in consumers’ attitudes about street food, enticed by its convenience and affordability as well as its flavors
Capitalizing on this taste evolution can not only pique customer interest, but improve your bottom line as well.