Global cuisines and flavors will continue to play an integral role in consumers’ restaurant choices. Industry studies reveal that customers are increasingly driven to try unique flavors. In its Flavor Consumer Trend Report, Technomic finds that 52% of respondents express a preference for restaurants that offer unique or original flavors, up from 42% of those polled in 2009.
The study finds that new and exciting flavors can have an impact on purchasing decisions. “Most consumers say that a positive experience trying a new flavor can lead to future visits and can even influence retail purchasing decisions,” states the report. “What’s more, two in five say they are willing to spend more on meals that showcase new and interesting flavors, suggesting that in many cases, operators have substantial room to experiment.”
Other findings include:
A majority of consumers are open to trying new flavors for food or condiments at limited- service restaurants. This sentiment was especially strong for sandwich, chicken, Mexican and bakery café concepts, with more than half of respondents saying they would be likely or extremely likely to try a new flavor at these locations.
Full-service operators have more leeway than limited-service operators to experiment with new and unique flavor profiles. Most consumers say they would order menu items featuring new and different flavors from full-service restaurants. Acceptance of innovative flavors is highest at Italian concepts and steakhouses where consumers likely hold the chefs in the highest esteem.
Authenticity is key in ethnic cuisines, with 70 percent of consumers strongly agreeing that ethnic foods ordered at restaurants should be authentic.