Culinology - December 2015 - (Page 46)

PETITS fours Americans are loco for tacos. The south-of-theborder staple grew 22% on menus between 2012 and 2015, resulting in a 5% increase in Mexican cuisine during that time, according to research from Mintel. Mexican is the second-most menued international cuisine behind Italian, which, comparatively, decreased 4% on menus between 2012 and 2015. Half of US consumers crave Mexican foods, and 61% enjoy spicy dishes in restaurants, Mintel said. Between 2012 and 2015, menu mentions of chipotle peppers grew 33%, habanero peppers increased 32%, and jalapeños rose 20%. Avocados climbed 20% over the same period. "Mexican foods have become so common in the US that certain Mexican ingredients have seemingly lost their ethnic connotation," said Caleb Bryant, food service analyst for Mintel, citing avocados as an example. Growing interest in Mexican cuisine also has Time, place matter in snack selection 46 | Culinology | DECEMBER 2015 When it comes to snacking, consumers consider the time and place before deciding what to munch on. A study by The NPD Group, Snacking in America, shows that consumers' cravings for savory and sweet snacks depend on the time of day, and their desire for betterfor-you snacks depends more on their snacking location. When looking at snack-oriented food groups, consumers usually start the day with healthy, better-for-you snacks. They usually are consumed throughout the day depending on location. Around midday, savory snacking starts to pick up and in the evening, consumers switch to sweet snacks, according to the study.  The report shows that one-third of the snack or appetizer items that consumers eat around the lunch or dinner hour are from the savory category. More than one-third of post-dinner inspired the introductions of global hybrid dishes, he said. "These mashups are a way to showcase unfamiliar flavors on a familiar platform, allowing restaurants the opportunity to expand menu offerings that appeal to a wide range of consumers," Mr. Bryant said. An example was introduced at Applebee's Grill & Bar earlier this year as part of a new appetizer menu. The Grilled Chicken Wonton Tacos feature spicy chicken stuffed in wonton shells with slaw and cilantro. Other recent introductions include Chili's new Ranchero Chicken Tacos, which are filled with seasoned chicken, jack cheese, chimichurri sauce, pico, avocado, cilantro and queso fresco; and the new Knockout Tacos at Qdoba, which include warm corn or flour tortillas and slow-cooked or flame-grilled meats with bold and unexpected flavor combinations. snacks are from the sweet category. And, more than 40% of the snacks that consumers carry with them - from home to work, school or in the car - are better-for-you snacks. The seasons also play a role in snack food preferences. Sweet snacking increases in November (right after Halloween) and betterfor-you snacking decreases in November and December, during the holiday season. Savory snacking is at its highest during December and January, according to the report. "All snack foods are not treated equally by consumers depending on the time of day," said Darren Seifer, NPD's food and beverage industry analyst. "Marketers of snack food products need to communicate with consumers based on day part, while better-for-you snack marketers need to be more focused on location, as in-home versus away from home."

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Culinology - December 2015

Culinology - December 2015
Table of Contents
President's Letter - A day in the life
Emerging Trends - Hot cocoa flavor heats up
Gourmet porridge trend has ancient grain appeal
Ingredient Applications - Quality over calories
LYFE – Love Your Food Everyday
Flavor Trends - Sweet heat takes flight
Member Profile - A fresh perspective
Expert Voices - Cinnabon’s director of R&D finds room for innovation
Industry News - Mile High City hosts Future of Food Conference
Industry mourns loss of chef-entrepreneur Paul Prudhomme
Petits Fours - Tacos on the menu
Mintel identifies emerging trends for 2016
Ad Index

Culinology - December 2015