Increasing demand for ethnic cuisines

Even as the recession deepens, consumer interest in experiencing new ethnic cuisines and flavors is expected to continue to grow, according to Packaged Facts Food Flavors and Ingredients Outlook 2009

Increasing demand for world cuisines include "rustic French," reflecting consumers' desire for "down-to-earth and comforting qualities," and a wide range of Asian (with Japanese becoming better established and Korean going mainstream. Mediterranean (particularly Spanish) food offerings will become ubiquitous, and the cuisines of Peru, Laos, Algeria, Ethiopia and Somalia will become available in more markets. And Hispanic and Asian food retailers are expected to experience significant growth to serve both immigrant and mainstream consumers.

Crossover flavor offerings will continue to expand, with the growth of "savory" flavors (such as bacon and herbs like fennel) in sweet foods. The mojito flavor profile (rum, mint and lime), formerly associated with the cocktail, is being incorporated into products within a growing number of F&B categories.

Dark meat, heirloom and pasture-raised chicken, seafood and sushi, and "upscale burger joints," are hot. Restaurants and other food service venues will find new ways to use economy meat cuts and reduce the size of costly traditional protein portions and use of dairy ingredients (soy and meatless pastas are on the upswing). The use of brown rice and expanded vegetable offerings are trends in retail frozen and prepared meals. U.S. consumers won't give up their sweets, but less is more with bite-sized desserts, dark chocolates, non-caloric sweeteners (stevia and agave), and specialty yogurts.