Imagine a warm bowl of macaroni and cheese—but without the gooey and creamy cheese sauce. Not as appetizing, right? You’re not the only one to think so, as almost half (49 per cent) of consumers express that sauces are an appealing way to impart flavour.
Operators are responding by incorporating flavour-forward and craveable sauces in their dishes. Here we take a look at the fastest-growing sauces on Canadian menus over the latest year-over-year period.
By a significant margin, plum tomato sauce grew the most, up an overwhelming 137.5 per cent. Calling out plum tomatoes, sometimes even “Italian plum tomato sauce,” furthers the authenticity of restaurants’ pasta and pizza dishes, which resonates with consumers, as over two-fifths (42 per cent) report that authenticity is an important factor when deciding to order a pasta or noodle dish from a restaurant.
With almost a third (30 per cent) of consumers reporting that they are more interested in trying global flavours than they were a year ago, enter gochujang and tamarind sauces. Restaurants are adding heat to chicken- and beef-based dishes through the addition of spicy Korean gochujang sauce. African in origin and produced primarily in India, tamarind sauce is showing up at mostly South Asian and Thai limited-service and casual-dining concepts, though a few non-ethnic fine-dining restaurants are also spotlighting the sauce.
One sauce that is growing at fine-dining and upscale casual-dining restaurants is brandy au poivre (+26.3 per cent). Operators are pairing this premium sauce with a variety of steaks, including filet mignons, sirloins and New York strips. For example, Hy’s Steakhouse menus Steak Au Poivre, featuring a New York strip that is served with a brandy green peppercorn sauce.