Bowl of spices
Innovations in spicy flavors keep consumers wanting more.

CHICAGO – Spicy flavors continue to captivate consumers as some flavors ease into widespread acceptance while others gain traction on food service menus, Technomic said in its most 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, Technomic expects wasabi to appear on salads. Also, look for sriracha on tacos.

“Menu categories see wide variation in flavor innovation,” said Bernadette Noone, vice-president at Technomic. “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. Technomic forecasts growth for gochujang, which is a spicy, salty paste from Asia that is made from fermented soybeans, dried chilies and garlic.