The latest news, views and insights in food trends
We’re kicking off the summer with top emerging trends sourced from Tastewise data for May. Our AI identifies the top trends impacting food and beverage space so you can show up to your next meeting with all the trend data you need. Use this information to keep you on top of what’s trending and help you find interesting new ideas to guide your new product development.
Marketing Manager, Tastewise
Let’s start by defining what it takes for a trend to be categorized as “emerging”. According to the our research, these are trends that show significant growth across home cooking, social media and foodservice as a whole over the past year, but are not well penetrated in the market yet. Within each of the trend analyses below, we've linked insights to the Tastewise platform; feel free to click in and explore them more on your own, as well as the full trend dashboard for emerging trends.
Now, on to the trends!
Spicy honey, or “hot honey”, is the perfect “swicy” condiment (sweet and spicy- get it?). People are whipping up dishes with spicy honey 60% more this year than last, and are using the hot-and-sweet condiment on chicken dishes, sweet potato sides, and even as a glaze on a pizza! The best part? Spicy honey is easy to make at home; 'easy' is the top trending reason people are turning to the ingredient, calling out its simplicity 33% more this year than last. The drizzly goodness is a particularly good fit within American cuisine, and US consumers are adding it to their American staples in 29% of dining occasions.
Tastewise AI has spotted an opportunity in food service to incorporate spicy honey into restaurant dishes, and especially to call it out on menus - a currently underserved area. Over the past year, social discussion around spicy honey has grown by 49% among consumers, but today, only 2% of restaurants offer it on their menus. People are craving spicy honey when they go out to eat, but restaurants aren’t satisfying that need -- change must be made to stay ahead of the curve.
FYI- “Swicy” flavor profiles were spotted by the Tastewise AI in January of 2022 as a trend to look out for throughout the year (check out the full 2022 predictions report here).
Summer is right around the corner, and it looks like aguas frescas are coming right along with it. Simply mix together your favorite fruit, lime juice, water, a little sweetener- and ta dah! A “summery”, “refreshing” beverage to “cool down” (all dominating descriptions of the drink on social media). While most people associate aguas frescas with Latin American cuisines, particularly Mexican, more and more people are talking about drinking it alongside Italian food -- the fastest growing cuisine pairing for the beverage.
According to our research, social discussions around aguas frescas have grown over the past year by 70%, while only 2% of restaurants serve it on their menu. That means that people are talking about these refreshing beverages a lot, but aren’t seeing it on the menu when eating and drinking out. Just like with spicy honey, foodservice is facing a lucrative whitespace to cater to consumer cravings on the menu by including aguas frescas in a range of flavors.
Believe it or not, tofu skin isn’t actually made of proper tofu! Instead, the primary ingredient is condensed soy milk. The versatile Asian delight can be made into many different forms; fried rolls, tofu sticks, large sheets, and more.
Unlike spicy honey and aguas frescas, tofu skin takes nearly 7 hours to prepare by hand -- which means it is a much more complicated and time consuming dish to make at home. So where and how are people putting tofu skins on their plates? In Asia, this vegan delight can be found anywhere and is considered a beloved street food; however, according to our AI, gourmet is one of the fastest growing motivators behind rising interest in tofu skin in the US. Because of the special nature of the dish, consumers currently prefer to order it off the menu - ideally as part of a gourmet experience - than to cook it at home.
The bottom line, if you produce tofu skin and you’re looking for restaurants to which to sell your product, there’s a ripe opportunity to target gourmet restaurants. A tip: only 4% of restaurants in the US currently serving tofu skin are high end. Get ahead of the trend by crafting pitches for gourmet restaurants that highlight tofu skin.
There is no texture more satisfying than crispy on the outside and soft on the inside - just ask the millions of people who eat egg rolls, fried cheese balls, and perfectly roasted potatoes. If you haven’t tried arepas, add it to the list; this stellar Latin American dish hits all the right texture notes. If you already know and love arepas, try experimenting with a new filling! Arepa, the round, gluten-free, cornmeal cake, primarily hailing from Colombia and Venezuela, is now trending across the US.
People are trying out arepas as a festive accompaniment to their celebrations; interest in “fun” and “celebration” in occasions that feature arepas are up 57% and 36% respectively. As this is a relative newcomer in the mainstream, the most traditional versions of arepas are showing up on consumer plates -- “authentic” (+16% YoY) and “artisanal” (+54% YoY) are popular attractors in both home cooking and restaurant dining occasions.
By exploring interest in arepas across different cities in the US and the opportunities therein, we can see that arepas are 2x more popular in New York City than in Los Angeles, and 3x more than in Miami. Why does this matter? Restaurants in New York City should be adding arepas to their menus, as people are adding it to their appetite.
Branzino is a type of white fish (also called European Sea Bass) that is native to the waters of the Mediterranean sea. Its gentle flavor makes it an excellent canvas for rich dishes.
According to our research, branzino has grown +143% in consumer interest over the past two years; we expect this interest to keep climbing. Gen X shows the most interest in branzino, with conversations featuring the fish growing by 166% amongst the audience.
Only 1% of fish-serving restaurants in the US currently offer branzino dishes, while consumer discussions of branzino in restaurants is up 16% YoY. In home kitchens, people are using branzino 50% more YoY, and recipe providers are responding with a 16% uptick in recipes featuring the fish.
The bottom line? Branzino is making a splash (we’ll see ourselves out) both in food service and home kitchens, and brands would do well to pay attention to rising interest. Consider creating recipes for branzino that feature your product as a pairing: McCormick offers an excellent example by pairing branzino with one of their spice rubs, and the recipe has risen to #2 out of recipes featuring the fish across the US in response.
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