Diversity is the beating heart behind today’s tabletop sauce and dressing market. As millennial and Gen Z consumers look for new flavors to entice their taste buds, the foodservice and culinary industries must bring unique, unexpected, and bold options to the table.
Upcoming Flavor Opportunities Lean Hot
Table sauces are trending towards the hotter end of the spectrum. Habanero sauce tops the list of fastest-growing sauces between as of late in the Midwest, Northeast, and South. The only odd region out is the West, where habanero doesn’t even earn a spot on the list. The West’s top pick is Nashville Hot, keeping with the nation’s heat fixation. The search for the new sriracha is rising, with harissa, piri-piri, gochujang and berbere all making waves.
That said, it isn’t just heat that foodies today are after. Other emerging sauce flavors include:
● Garlic parmesan
● Bacon and ranch
● Herbal mixtures
● Honey garlic
This drive to enjoy more unique flavors, partnered with a continued fascination with heat, has driven many eaters to doctor American favorites with global accents.
Moves in the World of Chicken
Chicken一be it fried, sandwiched, or winged一has long been one of the most popular dishes in the United States. However, the ways to dress and flavor chicken are rapidly changing. Honey mustard is is a classic and is also continuing to grow as one of the most popular flavors alongside chicken, with Thai and Indian additions coming in close behind. In fact, Asian chicken has become a dish that millennial eaters crave. Other popular additions rising alongside today’s chicken dishes include cheese sauces, sriracha, traditional barbecue, and beer-based batters.
While hot and honey flavors have seen the most growth over the past several years, other newcomers to the market seem set on making waves. These include:
● Sweet chili sauce
● Tomatillo salsa
● Salsa Macha
● Chipotle aioli
These flavors are all making waves on menus across the country.
A Focus on Health
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered significant changes in every American’s health. Not only is there a pandemic to worry about, but the lockdowns and quarantine requirements caused some significant national weight gain. Nowadays, with COVID-19 regulations loosening and people leaving their homes, many Americans want to lose weight.
Americans are chasing toppings that are not only light but also naturally made. For that reason, recent condiment and dressing trends have leaned towards more health-conscious products. For example, condiments and dressings that relied on gums to thicken them are losing some of their table appeal, and light and “naturally” marketed goods are starting to shine.
Some of the most popular international crossovers originate in Syria, Russia, and Portugal. America has welcomed massive quantities of vareniki, braised cod, and shawarma to the nation’s urban areas. Whether or not these flavors will spread remains to be seen, but their popularity and the popularity of the cuisines to come alongside them is undeniable. Other international flavors in sauces attracting the attention of American eaters include:
● Xo sauce
However, this drive for international eats doesn’t begin and end with the food itself. While worldwide dishes are increasing in their American appeal, so is a farm-to-table approach to food. A significant percentage of today’s consumers are as invested in the origins of their food一not to mention the treatment of those harvesting it一as they are in that food’s flavor profile.
Convenience, Convenience, Convenience
Above all else, millennial eaters want sauces and dressings that they can use for multiple meals. Not only does this fit with their cost-cutting habits, but it encourages the experts in the culinary field to create well-rounded sauces, dressings, gravy, and the like. Versatility is undoubtedly the winning quality of a sauce. For example, mayonnaise and most vinaigrettes will likely retain their popularity because they are so versatile. It will be some time before the more unique flavors in today’s market displace them.
Anticipating Changes in the World of Table Sauce and Dressings
Today’s tabletop sauce, dressing, and condiment trends reflect an increased interest in bold flavors. Millennial and Gen Z eaters, alongside their peers, strive for heat and versatility in their daily eats . What’s more, these consumers are looking to experiment with flavors they’ve never experienced before, lending weight to the international push for more diverse food.
Meeting new demands for unique eating opportunities demands creativity of the foodservice and CPG industries. The thought leaders at Symrise Flavor North America are already looking around the corner. Please contact us to earn more about sauce trends and our supporting flavor library.
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