As the most popular protein on Canadian menus, chicken is constantly reinvented by operators. One way to keep things exciting is by pairing the versatile protein with innovative sauces.
Global sauces on chicken are showing growth, appealing to the 61% of consumers who at least somewhat agree they would be more likely to order chicken entrees made with globally inspired flavours or ingredients.*
Traditional Chinese kung pao sauce and bean sauce rank in the top two spots for fastest-growing chicken sauces, and the Thai sauce Sriracha is also increasingly appearing on chicken. This tracks on menus, given that Asian/noodle restaurants outpace the operator average for chicken penetration (93.9% vs. 83.6%, respectively).
Many of these global sauces, such as kung pao and Sriracha, also pack some heat. However, on the other end of the spectrum, operators are also featuring sweeter sauces, such as honey-garlic sauce, more frequently.
Indulgent elements are also increasing on chicken, as shown by the use of ranch sauce. The dairy-based sauce pairs well with fried and breaded chicken, a preparation style that 35% of consumers prefer for lunch/dinner chicken entrees.**
Source: Technomic Ignite menu data, Q1 2020-Q1 2021
*Base: Approx. 405 consumers who eat chicken at least once a month
**Base: 594 consumers who eat chicken at least once a month
Source: Technomic 2021 Canadian Centre of the Plate Consumer Trend Report