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Top 10 Trend Predictions We Got Right in the Last Decade

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Datassential has been in the business of predicting food trends longer than any other company, and our forecasts are supported by a seasoned team of industry experts, our AI-powered forecasting tool has an accuracy rate of 98 percent. 

(Brushes shoulders off.)

But we don’t just want you to take our word for it. So we’ve gone back through 10 years of our food, flavor and ingredient forecasting lists that we release every winter, to highlight 10 of the trends that we’ve predicted would make a splash on menus in the coming year – and give you a look at how those ingredients have performed on menus since. 

We featured Za’atar, the Middle Eastern spice blend featuring thyme, sesame seeds, and sumac, on our list of “flavors to watch” in 2015. Since then, it has nearly quadrupled on menus, from appearing on 0.5% of menus in 2015 to 1.8% this year, growing 7% in the last year and 5% in the last four years.  

An addition to our “flavors to watch” list in 2017, sambal, a fiery Indonesian and Malaysian chili paste is loved by consumers who increasingly crave spice in all forms. Sambal has grown 7% on menus in the last four years and is most prevalent in fine dining. 

A member of the “flavors to watch” list in 2018, Labneh, a strained yogurt, is still in the Inception (earliest) phase of our Menu Adoption Cycle, but it’s growing fast, beloved by consumers for its creamy texture, probiotic benefits and versatility. It has grown on menus by 20% in the last four years and 23% in the last year.

When we added yuzu to our “flavors to watch” list in 2015, we had a feeling consumers would love its citrusy notes as an addition to beverages, dressings and desserts. Since then, it has grown by 57% on menus; 27% in the last four years. And it seems for consumers, like with so many other emerging ingredients, trying is believing: Just 5% of consumers overall say they like or love yuzu, but that number jumps to 45% of consumers who say they like it or love it among just those who have tried it. 

The Japanese spice blend Togarashi has grown on menus by 27% in the last four years, as restaurateurs and consumers explore their growing love of Asian ingredients. The unique blend of chili peppers, sesame seeds, and seaweed offers the ability to add depth and heat to a range of dishes. We first added named togarashi as a flavor to watch in 2016, and since then has grown by 56% on menus.

Who doesn’t love fried chicken? Karaage denotes a fried protein, most often chicken, that’s coated in potato starch or potato flour, sometimes with a splash of citrus or an umami hit is added for brightness and depth. It has grown by 36% on menus in the last four years, and is expected to grow by another 36% through 2027. 

The Korean fermented chili paste is loved by consumers for its umami-rich, sweet, and spicy profile. Used in marinades, sauces, and glazes, it has grown on menus by 133% since we added it to our “flavors to watch” list in 2015, and it’s expected to grow another 46% on menus by 2027. 

The demand for healthier cooking oils has propelled avocado oil to double on menus in the last four years, and while it’s still not called out often on menus, consumers are increasingly flocking to it for its high smoke point and heart-healthy fats, key reasons we named it a flavor to watch in 2017. 

We named ube a “flavor to watch” in 2018, and we hope you were watching! The vibrant purple yam with a sweet, nutty flavor has starred in desserts from ice cream to pastries and so much more. It has grown 146% on menus in the last four years.

Chamoy, a Mexican condiment with a tantalizing balance of sweet, salty, spicy, and sour, has grown an impressive 153% on menus in the last four years, and it’s used in everything from candies to beverages. We had a feeling consumers would love it when we named it to our list in 2019, and chamoy should continue to grow in the coming years.