Spicy flavors continue to captivate consumers as some flavors ease into widespread acceptance while others gain traction on food service menus in a recent Flavor Lifecycle report. The Flavor Lifecycle tracks trend adoption levels across food service concepts with varying levels of innovation.
Flavors such as buffalo, chili, jalapeño and Cajun have matured as menu trends leading food service operators to innovate new menu creations. For example, expect wasabi to appear on salads. Also, look for sriracha on tacos.
Menu categories see wide variation in flavor innovation. Aji amarillo, a South American spice, is the leading cutting-edge spicy flavor in appetizers; while in entrees, it’s sambal, a Southeast Asian favorite. Spicy flavors that are one step closer to widespread acceptance — but still innovative — include poblano in appetizers and red chili in entrees.
As Asian concepts evolve from local Chinese take-out to lesser-known fare inspired by Korea and Vietnam, expect the influence of pepper flavors to follow. Another spice forecasted for growth is gochujang, a spicy, salty paste from Asia that is made from fermented soybeans, dried chilies and garlic.