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

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