Monthly Archives: August 2017

Savor the Trends

We have so many products and processes to work with and flavors to choose from globally, that replicating savory trends is more credible. In our effort to develop authentic and craveable products, we study global savory cuisines with the intent of understanding the true origin of a product. We have a very methodical process to study a global cuisine. These are the five guiding principles we use when studying food trends:

  1. Culture and religion.
  2. Topography and geography.
  3. Agriculture and farming.
  4. Indigenous seasoning and dishes.
  5. Common cooking techniques, taste and flavors.

Culture and religion define the cuisine of a region. Quite often the festivities, celebrations and day to day menus are based on culture and religious beliefs. These food choices and menus derive from the local foods that are produced in their agriculture, with the topography and geographic conditions as defining aspects. The type of land will influence the type of crops that will grow and support indigenous diets. The type of plant based products, animals, fruits, grains, dairy and pulses are all complemented with indigenous seasonings. Sometimes the seasonings are subtle to enhance the local foods and at other times they are more robust to mask a flavor. Each of the menu items will be derived by utilizing cooking techniques that make the local cuisine flavorful and tasty to the local population.

Local Beer, Local Flavor

Beer in various forms, whether reduced, dried into a powder, mashed fresh hops, roasted barley, IPA or pilsner, have added an interesting perspective to savory product development. A beer-based BBQ sauce on ribs or chicken, mixed with citrus and brown sugar, can increase craveability. Beer has been used in dipping sauces for fried appetizers and as an authentic IPA mustard cheese sauce for pretzels. There are no boundaries to show off the pleasing flavor nuances of beer in savory food applications. Dried beer flavors can be added to a savory seasoning for fried appetizers, roasted or grilled chicken, rub for pork, or as a sprinkle for a grilled steak.

Global Inspiration

Asian, Italian and Latin American are consistently the top three global savory flavor trends. Various micro regions of each of these cuisines are becoming popular and commonly marketed in foodservice and retail. We use the guiding principles when working on replicating a product from a region inany of these vast areas. A piping hot noodle bowl served in a thermal insulated bowl that keeps the broth hot is a real elixir for a tattered or weak individual. A broth product is clean tasting, fresh, typically low in fat and overall nutritious. The wide variety of vegetables and sources of protein make this option a flexible “better-for-you” solution. The components of a noodle bowl are as follows: a base of noodle, broth, vegetables and protein and garnish. With four components, the options are limitless.
Some common noodles that are on trend are ramen, vermicelli, soba and glass rice noodle. The broth can be vegetarian, based of miso or vegetable broth and the carnivore option from beef, lamb, chicken, duck, shellfish, venison, seafood (bonito, shaved fish flakes) or other. The variety of vegetables is limitless too. The most important part of the vegetable choice is to choose a vegetable that will be cooked properly upon consumption, with added flavor, color and texture. The garnish that are common are bean sprouts, cilantro, mint, Thai basil, scallions, roasted garlic, fried shallots, nuts, seeds and jalapenos. Let your imagination go wild here and focus on authentic flavor and craveability. Other products that are on trend in noodle bowls are bacon, sausage, soy marinated braised pork belly, kalbi marinated grilled meats, smoked pork shoulder, koji cured bacon, Gochujang flavored sauces or marinated and roasted meats, mushrooms, eggs, greens, squashes, hoisin sauce, Sriracha, pea shoots, sweet potatoes, eggplant, fermented vegetables and surimi products. The texture of meatballs can be developed to be chewy, tender and savory. Chef Ivan Orkin from New York is an inspiration to learn about the limitations and possibilities of Ramen noodle bowls. He believes that a ramen must have a fat emulsified into the broth to drive savory flavor. Attention must be given to the preparation and assembling of a noodle bowl, with the exploding interest and consumer demand of ramen, fueling its wide variety of combinations of comfort flavors.
Another twist on Asian cuisine going global is the traditional low cost food of porridge. Congee is the oldest form of a porridge that has a neutral flavor made from rice. This type of porridge is perfect when served with flavorful sauces, meats and roasted vegetables. The porridge is the “foil” or neutral item in a dish that brings the palate back to neutral, allowing the other components to take the lead flavor. The comforting texture is also a key factor with a creamy appeal. Fermented flavored products can complement these neutral porridges, especially when combined with savory meats and sauces.