Consumers put new starters in the game

Consumers’ tastes can drastically change in the span of a year—and they did. New research from Washington, D.C.-based newBrandAnalytics found that the starters people buzzed about most in 2013 were almost completely different from the previous year. Only ceviche was a favorite in both 2012 and 2013. The 2013 top-five starters were:

  1. Charcuterie
  2. Ceviche
  3. Burrata
  4. Deviled eggs
  5. Zucchini cakes/breads

The list, culled from consumers’ comments in social media and on review sites, such as Yelp! And OpenTable, singles out those dishes that drive both buzz and traffic. “When customers repeatedly mention dishes and ingredients in social media reviews, and also state that they will return … it reveals the items that foster customer loyalty and repeat business,” says Kristin Muhlner, newBrandAnalytics’ chief executive officer.

As for the ingredients customers preferred, egg (egg yolk) and yogurt pushed out squid ink and ricotta to claim spots among the top five ingredients for 2013. But despite many industry predictions that the bacon craze is coming to an end, bacon held onto its No. 2 position for 2013; truffle and pickles also remained in the top five.

A deeper dive into consumers’ social media chatter shows that, when it comes to ingredients, everything old is new again. “Dishes featuring ingredients like toast, zucchini, Brussels sprouts and key lime pie all surged to the top of their respective categories in 2013,” says Muhlner. “Reimaging the classics has become a great way to capture interest across multiple generations of diners.”


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