Global flavors and ingredients are now staples on restaurant menus across all segments. But the growth in ethnic-inspired soups provides a new opportunity for operators both in mainstream and globally focused concepts.
According to Chicago-based research firm Datassential, ramen and pho are among the fastest-growing soup options on menus, with 135 and 44 percent growth respectively since 2010. Although operators are beginning to respond to this trend, these soups are at the beginning of the adoption cycle, indicating high growth potential.
Latin-inspired soups have a smaller menu penetration, but the growth of Mexican flavors such as chipotle and pico de gallo have thrust these soups into the spotlight. While some Latin-style soups are well established, such as tortilla and black bean soups, adding options that are less familiar to U.S. consumers, such as pozole or albondigas, can be a way for operators to offer exciting, on-trend flavors.
Ramen and pho can be made with a simple base, allowing the kitchen to differentiate with innovative ingredients such as duck or shiitake mushrooms. Operators can also use Asian or Latin garnishes to add ethnic flavors to classic soups with familiar flavors consumers seek.
Here are a few ethnic spins on soups featured on restaurant menus today.
Barnacles Bar & Grill
Hermosa Beach, Calif.
Barnacles Pho: Vietnamese noodle soup served with shrimp and beef; $7-$9
Noodles & Company
Thai Hot Pot: Signature curry broth, cabbage, sprouts, peppers, shiitake mushrooms, rice noodles, pulled chicken, pork, lime, cilantro; $NA
Thai Curry Soup: Yellow coconut curry broth, spinach, cabbage, mushrooms, tomato, red onion, rice noodles; $NA
Tomatillo Gazpacho: Crushed green tomatillos, cucumbers, green peppers, jalapenos, green chiles, fresh cilantro; $NA
This post is sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions