In a time where efficiency is a must, the need for differentiation remains. In their quest to stand out, operators should consider that 43% of consumers expect restaurants to offer signature flavors they can’t get elsewhere. What’s more, 61% say they are likely to return to a restaurant if they like a new flavor, according to Technomic’s 2019Flavor Consumer Trend report.
Global flavors have been trending upwards for some time with no sign of stopping, making them a great opportunity for menu innovation. In fact, Technomic’s Flavor report found that 31% of consumers say they try something new on a menu to learn about other cultures or regions. Operators have the chance to take consumers on a trip around the world with a simple order.
There’s one food that crosses almost every border and can become a prep-friendly ingredient at any restaurant hoping to innovate with global flavors: beans. Here’s just a few ways restaurants can incorporate them to offer unique dishes that scratch consumers’ travel itch.
Lettuce wraps, typically served with chicken, can get a plant-based twist with kidney beans as the protein. Scallions, ginger, kiwi, and gochujang add craveable Korean flavor—a profile quickly gaining preference with consumers, particularly among Generation Z.
Operators can also boost a dish’s protein and fiber by adding beans and global spice to an American classic. For example, a bowl of chili gets a Thai-inspired makeover when made with ground turkey, beans, quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes, spicy fresh ginger and red curry paste.
In Cuba, the dish of moros y cristianos—black beans and rice—is a staple. Stateside diners will enjoy this Latin dish, topped with a fried egg, for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Likewise, add bacon to take a dish up a notch. The Mexico-inspired dish of charro beans, which are beans cooked in a flavorful broth as well as meats like ham, chorizo and more, is perfect for American menus. Add bacon to this dish of cooked pinto beans for a familiar flavor diners will love. According to Technomic’s 2020Generational Consumer Trend report, Mexican is one of the most preferred ethnic cuisines of all generations; making it approachable will only increase its popularity.
Mediterranean and beyond
There’s also growing interest in Mediterranean flavors, with dishes from Greece, Italy, Morocco and the Middle East. Take a pantry staple like chickpeas and create a unique and innovative salad of mint, chutney, ginger and cumin. Another Mediterranean staple, hummus, can also be transformed by adding fusion ingredients such as red peppers and mango-papaya chutney for a south-Asian twist.
Today’s consumers expect more variety. In fact, Technomic’s 2020Future of LSR: Fast Food & Fast Casual report found that 35% of fast-food consumers and 36% of fast-casual consumers would like restaurants to offer more menu items with new/unique flavors. By stocking a variety of prep-friendly beans, operators will have limitless choices to recreate cuisines from all over the world.
This post is sponsored by Bush’s Best®