Food Trends for 2015

Ingredients and flavors that diners are searching for

For 2015, the overarching trends of casualization, customization and globalization continue. These are big influencers, and they’re shifting the way your guests are looking to dine.

After scouring the foodservice landscape to find new ways to express these trends, we’re pleased to present you with new ideas on exciting flavors and ingredients.


Consumers are paying more attention to natural sweeteners, such as agave nectar, maple syrup and honey. Of these, honey offers huge potential. It drips with menu language gold, adds premium cues of local, artisanal and natural, and imbues dishes with deep, rich, nuanced sweetness. From a honey-harissa citrus glaze to a Tupelo honey-sweetened iced tea, look to this fantastic ingredient to sweeten your menu with an evocative sense of place.

  • Tap into specific flavor cues by calling out a varietal, like wildflower, orange blossom or alfalfa honey
  • Add honey in unexpectedly delightful ways: featured in a signature cocktail or smoothie, or drizzled over a spicy Buffalo chicken pizza or sriracha-glazed burger

The Buzz on Honey

55,000 miles = a pound of honey

The 60,000 or so bees in a beehive may collectively travel as far as 55,000 miles and visit more than two million flowers to gather enough nectar to make just one pound of honey.

>300 varietals

There are hundreds of unique kinds of honey in the United States, originating from such diverse floral sources as clover, eucalyptus and orange

Courtesy of the National Honey Board
Honey-Loving Recipes

chilli peppers

The popularity of sriracha (up almost 80% on restaurant menus since 2010*) has opened guests’ eyes to the wonders of chili peppers. Besides packing heat, they bring global adventure to the plate. Habanero, poblano, aji amarillo chiles and jalapeño peppers dial up the spice on Latin dishes. Indian ghost peppers—the hottest peppers in the world—scream “spicy”; Thai bird chiles carry piquant notes; sweeter peppers like Cubanelles and shishitos add a great sense of place.

The flavors of chile peppers work particularly well in spreads and dips. Spicy aïolis are one of the fastest-growing hot flavors on menus today,* and spicy mayonnaises are up 70% at restaurants over four years ago.*

*Datassential 2014

Spice Up Your Dips and Spreads

  • Add harissa (North African chili pepper paste) to mayonnaise for an exotic, spicy sandwich spread
  • Add puréed chipotle peppers to ranch dressing for a spiked salad offering
  • Add minced serrano chiles and orange zest to mayonnaise for a nice zing


Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower—these are the darlings of the vegetable world right now. And whatever vegetable you’re serving, it’s no longer enough to simply steam and maybe dunk in butter and stock. Instead, show your produce love through cooking methods such as roasting, caramelizing, charring and grilling, which coax out complex, layered flavors and add premium cues.

Menu Sightings

Salt-roasted beets with Thai green curry, beet gnocchi, whipped coconut galangal cream—DIRT CANDY,
New York

Brussels sprouts shaved and grilled, then served with smoked mustard—VEDGE, Philadelphia

Veggie-Centric Recipes


Chocolate still holds the number-one position in Top Dessert Flavors by a substantial margin in both LSR and FSR operations.* But you have to make your chocolate desserts stand out in the sea of chocolate-centric offerings. We’re pinpointing three chocolate dessert trends that will help keep yours enticing and memorable.

  • Booze-infused: Enthralling, grown-up flavors support premium positioning
  • Spice-laced: Warming spices such as cardamom and cinnamon add depth and intrigue
  • Deep, dark chocolate: Consumers are showing increased interest in cocoa percentages

*Technomic’s 2013 Center of the Plate Trend Report


Inspired by the gourmet burger movement, the pub food trend and the renewed love of premium sausages, it’s time to get creative with mustard. “Chefs seem enthralled with the spicy yellow sauce, judging by the unique spins on mustard we’ve seen on menus across the country,” says Eric Stoessel of Restaurant Hospitality. And Flavor & The Menu, in its Top 10 Trends issue of 2014, says, “Mustard is having a moment.” Find your mustard moment in 2015.

  • Combine raspberry jam, honey and mustard for a sweet-savory mustard spread, perfect for turkey sandwiches
  • Make a Dijon-cider sauce by heating in a saucepan: Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard, apple cider, cider vinegar, butter and parsley


Capture the mustard trend with complex, well-rounded Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard. Or try NEW Grey Poupon Rouge, with its savory-sweet flavor.

James Rigato, executive chef at The Root Restaurant & Bar outside Detroit, creates a signature dish of cider-brined pork shoulder tossed in his own Smoked Apple Mustard: a combination of Dijon and housemade apple butter.


2014 saw chefs playing with bold ingredients and adding heat and international influences to their menus. Now it’s time for barbecue to go global. Look to “new” spicy flavors from Korea, with its fermented, sour and savory profiles, and India, with its intense, aromatic spice blends.

’Cue Flavor

Choose from three delicious brands.

Go Global With BBQ



In 2015, pork will continue its reign as Protein of the Decade. Diners love it all—pork belly, slow-and-low-roasted pork, ribs, sausages and bacon. Since 36% of today’s consumers are interested in pork made with new, unique flavors,* consider upping your pork game to keep up with more adventurous palates. Look to global traditions for inspiration: crisp Caribbean chicharrón (pork rinds); roast pork with Filipino adobo; Thai banh mi with shredded pork as its base.

Roberto Treviño of Budatai in San Juan, with giant chicharrón.

Photo: The National Pork Board