Spicy foods continue to sizzle on menus

With spicy flavors continuing to grow on menus, operators have plenty of opportunity to expand these ingredients on menus. While Sriracha has dominated the spicy arena for the past few years, consumers are now demanding more diverse global flavors, and operators are turning toward less common, more adventurous cuisines such as Spanish, Caribbean, Filipino, Cuban and more.

Newer iterations of spicy dishes feature not just heat, but pickled, savory, sour, smoky and sweet elements as well. In other words, complex flavors are what’s hot right now—both literally and figuratively.

Best of all, these spicy flavors can be applied to many different dishes, so just about anyone who wants to try something new (without going too far outside of their comfort zone) can. In fact, according to Technomic’s 2017 Flavor report, spicy flavors are some of the fastest growing flavors for several menu items.

On pizzas, for instance, chili is the fourth-fastest growing flavor, up 14% year-over-year, while on sandwiches, jalapeno has grown 23% year-over-year. On appetizer menus, chorizo has grown 18% year-over-year. The bottom line? Spicy foods are here to stay, and operators have more flexibility than ever with how to serve them.

Want some inspiration? Here’s a few ideas for how to keep spicy interesting:

  • California Pizza Kitchen’s new Citrus Adobo Pizza features slow-cooked pork carnitas tossed in a housemade ancho chili adobo sauce with sweet white corn, roasted peppers, quesadilla and Monterey jack cheeses, fresh cilantro and lime. This pizza comes with a side of spicy chili de arbol salsa.
  • Tropical Smoothie Café, a quick service chain with locations across the country, serves up a Caribbean Jerk Wrap, filled with grilled chicken, rice black beans, roasted pineapple salsa, romaine, cheddar and spicy jerk sauce.
  • At Senor Frogs, a casual dining Mexican restaurant with locations in Nevada, Florida, South Carolina and New York, diners can enjoy the Mexican Burger, which features a beef patty, fresh lettuce, American cheese, guacamole, pico de gallo, pickles, and a spicy jalapeno and tequila mayo.

This post is sponsored by Mrs. Dash Foodservice