Combined, the Hispanic and Asian communities make up 22% of the U.S. population. Add to that the large number of additional Americans in what is called the “creative class,” those who embrace change and multicultural influences, and the result is a national majority who seek out and appreciate authentic and flavor-forward global foods.
“It’s clear from population statistics, and from the regional cuisine trends we’ve been tracking for years now, that we live in a multicultural America that requires a wide bandwidth of multicultural food offerings,” says Kimberly Egan, CEO of CCD Innovation.
This food can be authentic and traditional, made from imported or specialty ingredients according to longstanding cooking methods. Or it can be fused, mixed and matched with other cuisines to create new, adventurous incarnations. Some of these dishes serve as today’s updated and flavorful comfort food, while many also answer to the unflagging demand for convenience.
Food with Asian and Latin flavors, authentic pedigrees and comfort qualities will be appreciated by many segments of consumers, whether long-established American families of Asian or Latin descent, second and third generation immigrants with a desire to retain (or regain) their cultural heritage, newer immigrants, or any other American looking for good meals or tasty foraging.
This demographic mix is pushing new points of view and new products across the restaurant and packaged product landscape, and Asian and Latin Culinary Trend Mapping Report profiles several hot trends using CCD's proprietary Trend Mapping methodology, in which Stage 1 trends are just hitting the culinary scene while Stage 5 trends have gone fully mainstream in supermarkets and fast-food outlets:
Stage 1: Lomo Saltado -- A product of Peru’s Chifa (Chinese-inspired) cuisine, lomo saltado exhibits the unique blending of cultural influences in the country’s foodways.
Stage 1: Asian Burritos -- The portable, meal-worthy burrito form naturally lends itself to savory Asian ingredients and flavor combinations.
Stage 2: Vietnamese Coffee -- Growth of banh mi sandwiches and pho has led to an interest in authentic Vietnamese drinks, plus the metal brewer adds an experiential element.
Stage 2: Frozen Treats -- Global frozen treats from push carts, farmers markets, and independent shops entice kids and grown-ups of all ages with new fruit and spice flavors.
Stage 3: One-Bowl Meals -- Easy-to-eat, filling and comforting bowls built on a foundation of rice or noodles are versatile one-stop shopping meals.
Stage 4: Flavor on the Grill -- Interest continues to grow in more authentic Asian and Latin flavoring marinades, spice rubs and toppings.
Stage 5: Convenience Meals -- Authentic food lovers still need readymade soups, prepared meals and meal kits but do not want taste compromise.