Consumer Trends

Regional American cuisine takes root on menus

The broad category of "traditional North American" has grown by 26% since 2008 and is now the most popular cuisine type listed on menus, according to Mintel Menu Insights, a resource that tracks flavor and ingredient trends in leading chain and independent restaurants.

  • Southern regions dominate; the top regional labels on menus are Southwestern, Southern, BBQ, Cajun, Hawaiian and Californian.
  • Specific geographical claims are also showing up as descriptors, including New York-style, Texas, St, Louis-style, Philly-style, New England, Memphis, Santa Fe and New Orleans.
  • Over a three-year period, Memphis and St. Louis references surged by 195% and 51% respectively, as many rib joints (Tony Roma's, Dave & Buster's, etc.) have focused on regional BBQ styles.
  • Many regional sandwich, hot dog and burger chains ran American promotions in 2011, which accounts for a big bump in Philly-style (up 108%).
  • Other regions/cities are emerging and building in pizza, taco and sandwich mentions, including Chicago-style and Baja.

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