If you’ve been to the grocery store or ordered food in a restaurant in the past couple of years, you’ve probably noticed the increasing presence of ethnic cuisines and flavors. This isn’t surprising, given that Millennials are particularly adventurous eaters, and people have taken an interest in more authenticity in their ethnic inspired foods. From year to year, different ethnic cuisines see increases in popularity, both in foodservice and retail. Here are some of the ethnic cuisines we’ve seen trending this year and expect to be even bigger next year:
1. Mediterranean – Some Mediterranean inspired foods present familiarity for consumers; they’re still ethnic without having consumers get too far out of their comfort zone. Think Italian and Greek cuisine. Other countries bordering the Mediterranean offer flavorful and, often times healthy, foods too, like Syria, Egypt, and Morocco. The health factor is major when it comes to the appeal of Mediterranean cuisines. People perceive the Mediterranean diet to be a healthy, and as consumers become both more adventurous and more health conscious, they’ve been gravitating towards Mediterranean inspired foods. Seeing as Mediterranean flavors are also milder than some other ethnic cuisines, they tend to have mass appeal.
2. Latin – Latin inspired foods also have mass appeal, given consumers’ familiarity with them. This may be due to the shifting demographics in the United States and the increasing Hispanic population. Latin foods also tend to be very flavorful, and can even give the perception of health. Spicy flavors have been particularly trendy lately, and Latin inspired foods tend to deliver on heat.
3. Southeast Asian – The Southeast Asian flavor trends that we’ve been seeing go back to flavor and health as well. Asian food in general gives the perception of health, especially due to the high amount of seafood, coconut, and vegetables used in Asian cuisine. Some Southeast Asian cuisines deliver on heat too, making them all the more attractive for Millennials.
4. African – We’ve seen African cuisine begin to trend this year, and we’re expecting it to be a major flavor trend in the next couple of years. African cuisine is flavor and can be really spicy, making it highly appealing to Millennials.
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