Exploring Bold and Unique Flavors
Consumers are growing more interested in what Spoonshot’s 2023 Trends Report calls “complex heat”—going beyond the mere level of heat to the specific type of pepper and the distinct flavor profiles of each type. Many consumers are even intrigued by pairing peppers with other flavors, and this is especially evident in the foodservice and restaurant space, where consumers enjoy trying new combinations that extend beyond their comfort zones. The National Restaurant Association recently found that 78 percent of consumers say their favorite restaurant dishes offer flavor and taste sensations they can’t easily replicate at home. It’s clear that memorable or adventurous flavor pairings are in high demand.
“I personally believe that consumers want to taste cuisines and foods from global destinations,” says Chef Erich Chieca, executive chef at Burke Corporation. “This can offer an escape to a different world of flavor.”
Why are consumers so interested in exploring new combinations of flavor and heat right now? How can restaurants introduce fresh global-inspired ideas without sidelining back-of-house efficiency? Read on to find out.
The Pent-Up Demand for Complex Heat
Consumers are craving the bold flavors often associated with many international cuisines. In the wake of the pandemic, they’re searching for the right blend of novelty and familiarity—dishes they recognize that also offer a twist on expectations or a unique flavor profile.
“If a consumer has traveled to a specific country, they may come home and crave that experience and flavor,” Chieca says. “This gives the food industry an opportunity for the consumer to relive the experience through a creative menu application.”
Spoonshot found that consumer interest in complex heat increased by 20.5 percent over the 12 months ending in July 2022—while business interest grew by just 8.3 percent. Consumers are searching for complex heat, and they may not be able to find it as often as they’d like. Spoonshot predicts this trend will only become more widespread over the next few years.
How to Introduce a New Flavor Experience
To entice these consumers and introduce new flavors to the menu, Chieca suggests restaurants start by offering small bites at a price point for growth. “For instance, why not run a new flavor experience as an appetizer or amuse bouche to give a taste of a new flavor experience?” Chieca asks. “Do something different that creates flavor excitement.”
From salsa verde empanadas to noodle bowls and grain bowls to Mexican cheese bread, the possibilities are endless—especially when restaurants choose to incorporate offerings from the Burke Corporation product line of fully cooked Mexican-inspired meats. This portfolio features Cooked Sausage with Salsa Verde-Style Seasonings, Beef Meatballs with Smoky Chipotle Seasonings, Chicken Sausage with Tinga-Style Seasonings, Pork and Beef Meatballs with Albondigas-Style Seasonings, Chorizo Sausage Crumbles, and Zesty Mexican-Style Beef Crumbles.
Versatility, Simplicity, and Scratch-Made Quality
The Burke Corporation portfolio of Mexican-inspired meats provides restaurants with versatile options for adding a bold and memorable kick to their recipes. The line promises the taste and quality of house-made items in a ready-to-use format. As these products arrive on the truck fully cooked, kitchen staff don’t need to spend time and effort on extra steps during preparation.
Chieca recommends using these items to inspire creative applications. Operators are free to experiment, given the assurance they won’t be introducing complexity in the back of the house. “We’re seeing this line used to create signature flavor experiences. It’s truly a matter of the chef’s creativity,” Chieca says. “From pizza to handhelds to pasta to appetizer bites, there really are no constraints to where these items might be featured.”
Trending Mexican-Inspired Flavors
Consumers have shown sustained interest in Mexican and Latin cuisines and flavors in recent years, and the excitement around complex heat brings a renewed focus. Offering Mexican-inspired or Latin-inspired menu items—or even dishes from other international cuisines with an added Mexican or Latin twist—can entice consumers and ignite their imaginations.
According to Chieca, the flavor and uniqueness of the Mexican-inspired meats by Burke Corporation are what set them apart from other ready-to-use products on the market. They allow restaurants to create their own signature trend-forward applications while minimizing investments in time and labor.
Build Excitement Without Adding Complexity
The Mexican-inspired meats by Burke Corporation are also zero food waste—in other words, restaurants have no yield loss when compared to what it would take to prepare similar products from scratch. Restaurants can surprise and delight their customers, meeting their changing preferences in an economical way.
“From an operational perspective, the advantages to offering the Burke Corporation Mexican-inspired line on the menu include scratch-made quality in a ready-to-use format and unique flavors that an operator can use to create signature menu items,” Chieca says.
To learn more about the Burke Corporation portfolio of Mexican-inspired meats, visit the website.