Consumer Trends

The flavors customers crave

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

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.

Multimedia

Exclusive Content

Financing

This is why the restaurant business is in a value war right now

The Bottom Line: Same-store sales have slowed markedly for the past year as customers shifted to other options. And now operators are furiously working to get them back.

Financing

Saladworks-parent WOWorks is shopping for new brands to buy

The platform company is almost finished assimilating its existing six brands. Now it's time to add to the family, said CEO Kelly Roddy.

Financing

2 more reminders that the restaurant business is risky

The Bottom Line: Franchising is no less risky than opening your own restaurant. Just ask former NFL player David Tyree and the former president of McDonald's Mexico.

Trending

More from our partners