Global Flavor Trends in Food: Perspectives, opinions, and wants of U.S. consumers and foodservice operators

Nov 2017| MDK014A| Datassential

Report Highlights

Three-quarters of surveyed operators offer globally-influenced foods, including those who focus on a single cuisine. All menu parts are covered, although only one-third or fewer serve globally-influenced sandwiches, desserts, or snacks.

Asian cuisines are the most common on menus today, but European foods are the most likely to have been offered in the past year. African cuisines had the least exposure, although four in 10 operators have menued them in the past year.

Asian influences dominate among consumers’ most recent global meal. The Americas and Europe were also common sources of foods and flavors, with Africa and the Middle East to a lesser extent.

Two-thirds of consumers who had a global dish in the past two weeks had either a meat or noodle/rice entrée. Most consumers viewed their last global dish as authentically ethnic.

When faced with unfamiliar foods, basic sensory reactions to smell and appearance carry the most weight with consumers. Younger consumers place more importance on having some prior knowledge of an item or the chance to learn more about it.

Ethnic grocers are best known to urban consumers, with Asian shops considered the most common. Two-thirds of rural residents say they have no nearby ethnic food stores.

Nearly all consumers have eaten at an ethnic restaurant, with Asia and Europe representing the most common cuisines. Middle Eastern and Latin American restaurants have reached one-quarter of consumers, and 14 percent have dined on African food.

Just like its population, America’s food has become a melting pot of influences from around the world. Not only are the “big three” cuisines of Italian, Mexican, and Chinese being explored at a deeper level (think burrata cheese and black garlic), but interest in other countries’ food cultures is also rising. Discover the reasons why from nearly 300 operators, most of whom serve next-level global foods, and over 1,000 consumers. You’ll learn about:

Awareness and Interest Around Regional Cuisines
Explore what consumers think about when it comes to foods and flavors from five macro regions of the world: Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America/Caribbean, and Africa. Gauge how they feel about each region’s foods when it comes to value, health, approachability, and more.

Consumers’ Last Global Food Occasion
We asked consumers to detail the last time they had a global food: how recently they ate it, at home or away, and what mealpart it covered.

Demographic Insights into Consumption and Attitudes
Understand the differences in perceptions of global food not only between different age groups but also urban, suburban, and rural consumers. See where they learn about new foods and flavors, and which cuisines and global dishes generate the most interest.

Identify Emerging Ingredients and Dishes
Using the MenuTrends database, track which global foods and descriptors are most menued and fastest growing on menus at both ethnic and non-ethnic restaurants. Using the FLAVOR tool, explore consumer affinity for global foods and pinpoint which are poised for growth.

Segment-Specific Findings
Learn about the distinct differences between restaurants and on-site operators in their approaches to global foods, which global products they buy, how often they refresh their offerings, and what changes they plan to make in the coming year.

Datassential, a Chicago-based food industry research and consulting firm, brings clients real-world information on foodservice and consumer packaged goods in the U.S. and around the world. The company’s services, including its extensive MenuTrends database, provide in-depth reporting on trends in menu offerings, flavor profiles, ingredients and preparations. Datassential helps operators, retailers, and suppliers understand and capitalize on these important trends.

Datassential makes the food industry smarter. We provide trend software, predictive analytics, and consumer insights that help manufacturers, food retailers, and chain restaurants innovate and sell more intelligently.

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