Incorporate new ingredients
Restaurant operators also may incorporate single ingredients into their snacks to add Hispanic flavor flair without committing to an entirely Hispanic dish, Technomic said. A handful of Latin ingredients are proliferating in independent restaurants and emerging chains, which positions them for growth in new snack foods.
Curtido, a Salvadoran cabbage-based relish, may be used in fish tacos or arepas.
Huitlacoche, a Mexican corn fungus, may fill quesadillas or other tortilla-based snacks, Technomic said. Menu mentions of this ingredient are up 15.8% year over year.
Pikliz, a Haitian condiment of pickled cabbage, carrots and peppers, may top empanadas or fritters.
Tepache, a Central Mexican fermented beverage made from the peel and rind of pineapples, may be served chilled by itself alongside aguas frescas.
“Ethnic foods and ingredients are now becoming mainstays on menus, none more so than from Latin countries,” Technomic said. “But more and more, operators are looking to the next new Latin ingredients to add to menus.”
Ingredients with heat are most likely to draw interest from consumers, the report said. Forty-four per cent of consumers said they seek out spicy snacks, including 56% of millennials and 53% of Gen Zers.“Showcasing snacks with hot ingredients that are prominent in regional Latin cookery, such as jalapenos and habaneros, is one way to appeal to younger diners in particular,” the report said.