A new report from market research firm Technomic shows that most consumers are willing to try a new menu item with an "innovative flavor," and are more likely to return to a restaurant for the same menu item.

Technomic's Flavor Consumer Trend report signals the need for operators and suppliers to provide a twist on classic offerings.

According to the report:

  • Many of today's consumers say they are increasingly driven to try new flavors (37 percent) and that new flavors can influence them to visit a restaurant (41 percent).
  • The demand for spicy flavors continues to rise: for the first time, a majority of consumers (54 percent) say they prefer hot or spicy sauces, dips or condiments, compared to 48 percent of consumers in 2011 and 46 percent two years earlier.
  • Flavor synergy is a top trend to watch: Technomic data shows that sweet flavors pair well with the greatest number of other flavors, including savory, sour, smoky or spicy profiles.

"In a competitive foodservice climate, flavor differentiation is a must-have for operators," said Darren Tristano, EVP of Technomic Inc. "Because today's foodservice consumers have such a strong expectation for innovative flavors, operators and suppliers have to help the menu stand out by staying ahead of the flavor curve. Knowing which flavors are up-and-coming and truly enticing to guests will be essential in gaining their dining-out dollars."

Read more about restaurant trends.

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