As the American consumer demographic continues to grow and become more diverse, so do their food preferences. According to McCormick and Co’s 2018 Flavor Forecast, this year is expected to be the year for international flavors, which is no surprise as more unique international cuisines are popping up in every food category. This demand for exotic flavors has led the US to dominate in the global market for international spices, which is forecasted to exceed $10 billion by 2019.
Major food companies and restaurants in the US have been rolling out international food options in response to this trend and seem to be finding great success in their efforts. CPG brands in this market include Trader Joes, Amy’s Foods, Great Value, Compliments and Presidents Choice. In addition, restaurants that feature international dishes or fusion cuisines have been popping up all over America.
Mexican Inspired Breakfast
Eggs and toast are no longer considered breakfast staples in America, as its prominent Latin-American influence has inspired breakfast creations with traditional Spanish ingredients. Chorizo scrambled eggs and breakfast burritos are now some of the most popular breakfast foods on the market. Other Mexican-inspired breakfasts include migas, a scrambled egg dish that usually has salsa and fresh vegetables with corn tortillas. Enchiladas, tamales and breakfast quesadillas are also among some of the most popular Mexican breakfast items.
Frozen food brands such as El Monterey, Hungry Man, Smart Ones and Don Miguel offer a variety of frozen Mexican-inspired breakfast foods. The New York Post also reported 20 popular restaurants that serve Mexican breakfasts in America, which include restaurants such as New York City’s famed Cosme restaurant and San Francisco-based Cala.
According to market research organization Statista, over 230 million American consumers claimed to have used Mexican food or ingredients in 2017. Such popularity will likely lead more food companies to invest in Mexican-inspired food offerings.
Indian and Middle Eastern Spices
Salt and pepper just don’t make the cut anymore as more consumers prefer bold international flavors in their dishes. Authentic global spices from places like India and the Middle East include harissa, turmeric, cumin and za’atar. In addition, Whole Foods recently forecasted Middle Eastern dishes to become mainstream foods in 2018.
Popular spice brands such as Kirkland, Club House, Great Value and McCormick already offer a variety of ethnic herbs and spices such as cumin, turmeric and bay leaves. In 2017, McCormick sold their products to over 148 million customers, which is likely because of their expansive spice offerings.
Often referred to as the “original fusion cuisine,” Filipino dishes incorporate a variety of Spanish, Western, Chinese, Japanese and Pacific Islander flavors. Such international inspiration makes Filipino food one of the most flavorful and unique types of cuisines offered in North America, which is why it is forecasted to become the next big trend.
Dishes such as Lumpia, Adobo, Sinigang, Kare-kare and Pansit are climbing their way to becoming mainstream meals. Popular restaurants such as Los Angeles-based The Park’s Finest, Vegas-based Full House BBQ, Chicago-based Uncle Mike’s and New York-based Jeepney offer a variety of Filipino inspired dishes. In addition, according to restaurant consultancy group Baum + Whitman, google searches for Filipino foods have doubled from 2012.
International Frozen Desserts
As international flavors take center stage in the food industry, it’s no surprise that frozen desserts are being affected by this trend as well. Chocolate and vanilla flavored ice-creams are now competing with unique international flavors like ube, which a popular ice cream flavor in the Philippines, Chinese-inspired red bean ice cream and Japanese-inspired matcha green tea ice cream. Ice cream brand Magnolia offers a variety of ice cream products that incorporate international flavors including ube.
This change in flavor preferences is indicative of the growing number of ethnic consumers in North America. By investing in international cuisines and flavors, food companies can position themselves as culturally diverse organizations. In addition, this diverse demographic is also responsible for the growth of the consumer market which can yield more sales as it continues to grow. According to Statista, Latinos in the US have seen the highest growth in buying power in recent years, followed by Asians, American Indians, African Americans and the rest of the population.