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Opportunities in Global Flavors


Opportunities in Global Flavors

As the economy has gone global, so too have consumer tastes. Known as a cultural melting pot, America has historically served up a broad spectrum of internationally inspired cuisine. The National Restaurant Association defines “ethnic” cuisine broadly as any cuisine originating in a different country or within a specific region of the United States.Among the most common ethnic dishes are Italian, Mexican and Chinese. While Ethiopian, Brazilian, Argentinian and Korean cuisines are lesser known, they are beginning to gain popularity. Restaurants are one of the primary points of access for trying new cuisines, as well as the source where frequent eaters typically get their ethnic food. With two-thirds of patrons enjoying a wider variety of ethnic cuisines now versus five years ago,2 make sure your operators can accommodate the increasing demand of these diverse culinary cuisines.

With the growing demand for global flavors, operators have an opportunity to experiment with their menu and expand their customer base. According to the NRA, 75% of consumers say they like it when restaurants with mainstream menus also serve ethnic cuisine.2

While the flavors and cooking techniques may vary, one ingredient is commonly found in kitchens around the world—chicken. From India’s Chicken Tikka Masala to France’s Coq Au Vin to Hungary’s Chicken Paprikash, chicken is a staple ingredient in some of the most popular dishes around the world.

Even different regions of the US have distinctive culinary traditions, with chicken appearing in many of their most popular dishes. For example, New England is known for creamy stews like clam chowder and chicken potpie while the southern region of the US is known for its comfort foods like fried chicken and jambalaya. The proximity to the Mexican border has influenced the cuisine in the Southwest, with many of the dishes featuring Mexican ingredients like chili peppers, plantains, jicama and cactus. Meanwhile, the Pacific Northwest fuses local ingredients like seafood and wild game with Asian and Native American traditions. The Midwest, considered America’s heartland, is home to many regional specialties inspired by the fusion of cultures and backgrounds that have settled in the area over the years—Cincinnati-style Chili, Pasties, Loose Meat Sandwiches and Lutefisk, to name a few. Over time, the various regional cuisines have fused with international flavors and created what is now considered “New American” cuisine.

While fried chicken is traditional in the south, it also has Asian and Caribbean roots and is appearing in an array of globally inspired dishes. According to Chicago-based research firm Datassential, in recent years fried chicken has appeared on 74% of American and Southern menus, 80% of Chinese menus and 61% of Caribbean menus.3 Global flavor trends and a growing demand for comfort food has led many chefs to create their own version of fried chicken. Celebrity chef David Chang serves a large format fried chicken dinner at Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York City. The meal must be reserved in advance and includes two whole fried chickens, one southern style and one Korean style, along with mu shu pancakes, Bibb lettuce, four sauces and an assortment of seasonal vegetables. Federal Donuts chef Michael Solomonov also drew inspiration from double fried Korean fried chicken when he developed his decadent fried chicken to pair with their beloved doughnuts.4

The American population is more diverse than ever, and consumers, especially millennials, crave new foods as a connection to different cultures.5 While certain cuisines like Korean and Ethiopian have recently seen a surge in popularity, don’t be afraid to experiment with new flavors and ingredients that might not be on everyone’s radar. After all, you might just create the next culinary craze!

Perdue Foodservice wants to help you help your customers find the perfect protein to inspire their next great globally inspired dish. Within the last 12 months, Perdue Foodservice has launched Perdue® Harvestland® USDA Certified Organic Fresh and Frozen Chicken and upgraded 100% of the Perdue® Turkey line to their No Antibiotics Ever portfolio. By combining high quality with versatility, Perdue Foodservice products are an ideal option for customers who want to capitalize on the global taste trend and also appeal to consumer demand for high value claim protein.

1Nation's Restaurant News, "Survey: Italian remains most popular ethnic cuisine," 8/28/15

2National Restaurant Association, “Global Palates 2015,” August 2015

3Food Fanatics, “Fried Wings of Desire,” Summer 2014

4EATER, “How Federal Donuts Turned Philly into a Fried Chicken Destination,” 4/10/15

5Restaurant Business, “Mega (and minor) Menu Trends for 2015,” January 2015