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2017 Food Trends- Ethnic Cuisine

In our last “Trendy Tuesday” segment, we will focus on ethnic cuisine. Foods like tacos, spaghetti, and fried rice have been a mainstay in the United States for a long time. While these foods have gained popularity throughout the years, cuisines such as Mediterranean and Korean have taken center stage. As our country’s taste buds have developed, ethnic cuisine continuously trend upwards.

Multiple Ethnic Cuisine Trends

Although ethnic flavors have risen in popularity in the past century, Americans demand more. According to the National Restaurant Association’s annual trend list, authenticity ranks in the top ten. As ethnic flavors gain popularity, consumers demand authenticity. Customers no longer desire the American spaghetti, they demand the version an Italian grandmother would prepare for her family. Also included in the NRA’s list is African cuisine. African cuisine showcases simply, flavorful dishes including large quantity or rice, cooked meats and vegetables. Many African dishes are very transparent, a possible reason as to why Americans now flock to the cuisine.

Ethnic spices just missed the top ten, ranking 11 in the overall poll. Popular ethnic spices include harissa, curry, za’atar and turmeric. These spices all originate from Africa and the Middle East.  These spices could be the result of “migratory meals”. Food Business News states that as refugees from the Middle East and Africa make way to the United States they bring their food and flavors with them. Many of these immigrants have opened small restaurants showcasing their heritage. Americans cannot get enough of these flavors, certainly causing the upward spike in trendy ethnic cuisines.

Ethnic Meals and Dishes

The world is huge, giving way to a multitude of different ethnic meals and dishes. Although Americans know fried chicken as an American comfort dish, cultures across the globe render versions of their own. Perdue Foodservice claims that the Koreans, Indians and Japanese all have a different take on fried chicken. The Koreans fry ethnic cuisine- shakshukathe chicken twice, Indians sauté their chicken in yogurt sauce after frying and the Japanese deep fry bite size pieces. While these dishes all include fried chicken, each cuisine flavors the iconic dish to taste their own. Also growing in popularity among American consumers is the rise of ethnic breakfasts. Americans now desire ethnic flavors on breakfast menus including Spanish chorizo and Mediterranean shakshuka. These dishes put an ethnic spin on their breakfast favorites.  In fact, ethnic breakfast is so trendy; the NRA rates this 6 in their top ten trend list.

Ethnic cuisine wraps up our four week “Trendy Tuesday” segment. Encompassed into one large trend, ethnic flavors have segments of their own. As certain cuisines like African and Middle Eastern continue to grow in popularity, many ethnic breakfasts have made their way to menus. As the year continues, try adding ethnic spices and flavors to your menu. You will certainly be a hit to your trendy customers.

2017 Food Trends- The Rise of Vegetables

As food trends emerge, vegetables have become a mainstay in several dishes in restaurants. Several factors play into the growing population of vegetables and vegetarian meals. Vegetable DishMany Americans have become more health conscious, looking for ways to incorporate healthy living into their food. The cost and sustainability of meat has also played a factor in customers consuming less meat and more vegetables. In 2016, vegetables entered the food scene with a bang and will not disappear any time soon.

Vegetables in Diets

Many customers in today’s culture follow strict diets, but do not want to stop dining out. Especially true for Millennials, who consider themselves trend and diet followers, but also view dining out as a social experience. In fact, vegan or gluten-free food resonates especially well for this generation. For those who follow the paleo diet, vegetable noodles

Veggie Pasta

substitute great for pasta in many dishes. In fact, the National Restaurant Association lists this pasta trend in the top 25 overall. Cauliflower has also entered a variety of meals through the means of cauliflower rice and cauliflower pizza crust. For vegetarians and vegans, vegetables have always served as a main dish.  Vegetarian meals such as black bean burgers and eggplant parmesan are just a couple of these classics. Now with the growing vegetarian population, chefs have learned to love cooking without meat.

Vegetables in Ethnic Cuisines

In the United States, meat and potatoes are a mainstay; however taste bud curiosity has driven Americans to step outside the normal American cuisine.  Ethnic food has Greek Veggie Burgercertainly made its way into various restaurants, showcasing a variety of new dishes with a vegetable focus. With the rise of ethnic food, chefs have integrated many vegetarian meals on to their menu. These cuisines have taught American chefs and consumers that a delicious hearty meal does not need traditional meat protein. Many cultures do not even consider their dishes vegetarian, just delicious, robust meals. The use of various herbs and spices has taken center stage as well. The use of ethnic flavors intend to spice up vegetables, making sure customers do not miss the meat.

With the growing popularity of vegetables in American restaurants, look for ways to make customers want to come back for more. Whether substituting veggies for grains or going meatless; give customers plenty menu options in regards to vegetables. Trend analysts expect ethnic vegetarian cuisine and plant-based proteins to continue to grow in popularity in 2017. Explore different spices, play around with different recipes and you will find a vegetable-based meal the customer will love.