Market research firm Technomic is out with its 2011 Consumer Flavor Report, and one finding is that 53% of consumers say “new and unique flavors” drive their decisions on where to eat, compared to just 42% in 2009. The report’s authors say that “craveability and culinary expertise [are] increasingly relevant to consumers, many of whom say they are more interested in experiencing new flavors as they dine out.”
“There is only so much you can do with pricing until your profit margins disappear. So you have to look at other ways to differentiate your brand,” says Technomic EVP Darren Tristano. “Incorporating unique flavors into existing menus can be a low-cost and easy way to grow sales and attract new customers. In our newest study, 42 percent of consumers said they are more interested in trying new and unique flavors, compared to a year ago. So keeping the focus on food taste and flavor is a powerful long-term strategy.”
The report also says that more consumers are interested in flavors “imparted by spreads, sauces or condiments,” which means we’re going to continue to see restaurants roll out more varieties of salads and spreads.
The most daring diners are apparently those who visit Italian restaurants: 67% of diners at Italian restaurants are willing to try new menu items. Just 57% of visitors to limited-service chicken chains are willing to take a chance on new flavors.