Technomic research has consistently shown that comfort foods, with their nostalgic qualities and positive associations, are popular with consumers and resonate particularly strongly these days, as the economic outlook remains uncertain. And, a familiar food with a twist is a safe way for guests to try something new.

Recent Technomic consumer research has shown consumers have strong opinions about what constitutes a comfort food. A high percentage consider beef dishes to be comfort foods. When thinking about beef as a comfort food, consumers are likely thinking of hearty, homestyle offerings, such as stews and roasts. Interestingly, a considerably higher percentage of females (47%, vs. 38% of males) consider beef to be a comfort food. This is likely because men eat beef more often than women, making them more likely to consider beef an everyday dish.

Consumers’ strong association with beef as a comfort food has prompted many chefs to revamp traditional beef recipes by incorporating unusual ingredients, using new sauces, updating preparation techniques or adding ethnic twists. For example, Wolfgang Puck Bistro recently added a Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf drizzled with port wine sauce, and Rí Rá Irish Pub & Restaurant introduced Beef & Guinness Stew.

Comfort foods are popping up on an increasing number of restaurant menus, and they are being well-received by consumers young and old, making it an on-trend category across the foodservice industry. Opportunities abound for menu innovation and development in this

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