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Fastest-Growing Ingredients in Pasta Dishes

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Here we look at the fastest-growing ingredients in pasta dishes on Canadian menus over the latest year-over-year period.

Grana Padano is seeing the most growth, up 27.8%. Concepts are featuring this semi-hard cheese in gnocchi and linguine pastas, especially grated or shaved. Though similar to Parmesan, Grana Padano has a subtler and less salty taste profile and also tends to be less expensive. Operators can use Grana Padano as a Parmesan substitute to provide a similar yet more refined flavour at a lower cost.

Slightly bitter ingredients are also gaining momentum, with parsley and green peppers rising 13.6% and 6.9%, respectively. Since 31%* of consumers express that they would like to see restaurants offering more flavour combinations, operators should incorporate these mildly bitter ingredients to balance out sweet marinara and creamy, rich Alfredo sauces in pastas for increased flavour complexity.

Pepperoni also rose 13.6% and is commonly spotlighted in lasagna and spaghetti. For example, Angels Diner serves baked lasagna, featuring a bechamel sauce with pepperoni. Because consumers already perceive Italian food as indulgent, operators are adding pepperoni, especially in combination with meat sauces, to provide increased heartiness for a decadent dining experience.

With pasta dishes growing 9.2%** on kids menus over the past year, enter butter (+7.4%). Restaurants are highlighting butter-based sauces especially on kids menus, as it’s a simple preparation that most kids enjoy. For instance, Wienstein & Gavino’s in Montreal, Quebec recently debuted Penne with Butter on its kids menu. Besides penne, butter sauces also pair well with spaghetti and cavatappi noodles in kids dishes.

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