New spices and ingredients that are part of the trend include nduja (pronounced n-do-ya) a spreadable Italian salami as part of a BLT, activated charcoal sprinkled or smoothied into a beverage to aide digestion and relieve hangovers, turmeric, (an anti-inflammatory) bee pollen, labneh (tastes like sour cream and Greek yogurt) and the continued growth of jackfruit as a flavored vegetable replacement for pork BBQ.
Indian cuisine will nudge into the American mainstream in tiny steps by adding a touch of curry or chickpeas into familiar menu items. Imagine a masala-spiced chicken wing or grilled cheese lightly touched by cilantro.
Speaking of chickpeas, look for hummus to be made with different vegetables, such as cauliflower, and hummus drizzled over a salad as a dressing. Similarly look for fried rice to move beyond Chinese in flavors such as green peri-peri fried rice underneath a fried egg and sticky rice lightly broiled with peppers to deliver a crispy rice.
Menu developers say Millennial-minded mash ups of ethnic cuisines are so common among trendsetting restaurants that labeling a cuisine no longer apply. Mash ups that are the most successful involve Southern and Hispanic twists to a familiar menu items.
Alternate dining models created by Millennials are deploying everywhere. These alternate tavern models may involve games, craft beer and a food truck to deliver flavor innovations. The menus are daypart agnostic, efficient and affordable allowing customers to customize their foods. North African and Middle Eastern carriers, like falafel handhelds are prevalent within the space.
Look for an increased use of alcohol as an ingredient to add excitement to the menu and increase margins. A case in point is bourbon chicken wings and as beverage with a new mission, cereal milk. Kid cereals such as Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Co-Co Puffs or Lucky Charms marinated the milk, then strained, with a bourbon, rum or dark rum added. Another twist, brunch memosa made with Tang instead of orange juice.
Sour is the taste bud driver that is emerging as Gen Z consumers take their childhood preferences alcoholic beverages and food preparations, such as pickled, citrus and vinegar flavors.
Tap into these trends or try one of our fresh recipes from the event. No matter the trend, there is opportunity to set your operation apart and there is a Texas Pete® sauce ready for any trend.