Thai Chicken Bahn Mi

Current Flavour and Menu Trends in Foodservice

Draw guests in with innovative flavour combinations. We can help.


With so many food trends to watch, it’s hard to know which ones really can impact your foodservice business. We’ve distilled the latest trends and flavour insights—ones we think offer the most prospects both for attracting new visits and enticing your guests to return for more.

Canadians are getting more adventurous: They’re interested in trying new flavours, and 44% indicate that they are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers new or innovative flavours.* Originality in flavour combinations can pay off in repeat traffic in foodservice, but don’t get too crazy: Research affirms what we know—your guests still crave familiar flavours. Success, then, lies within the safe culinary adventure, where they can try new flavour combinations but still recognize well-known flavour cues.

Canadian Consumer Insights

73% of Canadians
say that if they try and like a menu item with an innovative flavour, they would be highly likely to return.*


Almost one-third of Canadians (32%)
say they are more interested in trying new flavours than they were a year ago.*


Embrace the “Mash-Up”

Fusion is not a new trend, but the influence of street food and the casualization of menus has moved it from refined dishes to bold, unexpected “mash-ups.” Korean meets Mexican in tacos now. Caribbean flavours partner with regional Canadian fare for added depth and flavour.

Indeed, a whopping 66% of Canadians say they enjoy dishes that feature a fusion of flavours from more than one type of cuisine.* And millennials—that huge demographic encompassing ages 18-34—are even more interested in flavour combinations and global fusion dishes.

Five Trends to Explore

Bold and Spicy Flavours

Technomic’s MenuMonitor data shows that “spicy” flavours are prevalent on restaurant menus. More Canadians today indicate that they enjoy very spicy foods, including sauces, dips and condiments. Evidence to that trend abounds: Sriracha now sits next to ketchup as a tableside condiment in many restaurants.

Global Sauces

Sauces from different corners of the world offer an easy entry point into flavour exploration. Take note of three that are growing in recognition and popularity: Greek tzatziki, Chinese plum sauce and Indian chutney have all moved up for certain entrées, indicating that they are more common today than they were a few years ago. But we’re seeing global sauces move beyond their borders’ cuisines and into delicious mash-ups. Tzatziki jumps from the gyro, for instance, and onto a lamb burger or into a pita sandwich. Mango chutney moves from a cooling condiment for a spicy curry to a sweet relish on a spicy global sandwich build.*

BBQ Sauces

Barbecue sauce is a flavour mainstay, but exploration is moving the profile beyond sweet and smoky. Perhaps it’s a chipotle-and-honey-infused barbecue sauce, or one with quick add-ins of apple cider vinegar, hot sauce and chili flakes. Flavour exploration in the world of barbecue offers huge opportunity with little investment—the ability to cross-utilize helps you cut costs. Kraft Foodservice offers consistent, high-quality barbecue sauces, along with ideas on how to embellish them for menu distinction.

Tropical Flavours

What’s not to love about pineapple, mango, guava and coconut? Packed with sweet, aromatic flavour and fantastic versatility, Technomic calls out that tropical is moving beyond beverages such as smoothies and juices and into salads, sandwiches, entrées and desserts.

Celebrate the Sour

Technomic confirms that sour is making inroads on emerging chain and independent menus, adding a bracing, refreshing flavour profile through vinegars, mustards, pickled everything and Greek yogurt, as examples. As your guests’ palates mature, sour is a brave, new world of flavour possibility, adding soaring dimension and delicious acidity.

  1. * Canadian Flavour Consumer Trend Report, Technomic 2013