Here we look at the fastest-growing ingredients in appetizers on Canadian menus over the latest year-over-year period.
By a significant margin, peri peri is the fastest-growing ingredient, rising 50.0%. With 76% of consumers reporting a preference for moderately or very spicy foods,* operators are featuring this heat-packed ingredient with chicken, lending a more complex flavour profile to savoury poultry. Concepts are also pairing this spicy ingredient with seafood. For example, Adega Restaurante in Toronto offers black tiger shrimp with peri peri sauce.
Indulgent ingredients, including burrata and serrano ham, are also on the rise, up 38.5% and 25.0%, respectively. Burrata is often paired with vegetables and herbs, such as tomatoes and basil in a salad, whereas serrano is typically spotlighted on charcuterie boards. Both ingredients bring a more premium slant to classic appetizer selections, a facet that many consumers would be willing to pay more for. Since consumers are expressing that it’s more important that appetizers are premium/high-quality (55%) than healthy (34%),** operators should continue to offer these rich and premium ingredients to gratify consumers’ cravings.
Basil pesto is also growing, up 25.0%. Though traditionally featured in pasta, this fresh and pungent Italian sauce is especially proliferating on flatbreads and caprese salads. With 26%** of consumers agreeing that they would like more restaurants to offer appetizers with ethnic ingredients, operators should use sauces such as basil pesto to enhance their fare with ethnic flare.
* Source: 2017 Canadian Flavour Consumer Trend Report
**Source: 2017 Canadian Starters, Small Plates & Sides Consumer Trend Report