ROCKVILLE, Md.The Mediterranean Rim diet is influencing menu and flavor trends across the United States, not only due to its commonsense approach to eating and cooking, but also for its approved health benefits from the scientific community, according to new market research jointly published by Packaged Facts and CCD Innovation.
The Mediterranean Rim diet typically features a small but potent group of ingredients prepared in a simple, yet satisfying, mannerthus leaving ample space for creativity in the kitchen.
According to the report, "Mediterranean Rim: Culinary Trend Mapping Report," restaurant chefs, food producers and foodservice providers are serving up familiar foods from the region but elevating them in ways that continue to excite the palate. In addition, food professionals are looking beyond comfort cuisines from this area and exploring less-charted culinary landscapes.
The continuation of this trend from fine dining to fast casual still has plenty of room for product development and growth. This trend has evolved over the past 20 years, but the current drivers that continue to sustain excitement, adoption and interest in Mediterranean Rim food occur across the various stages:
Italian Sformata: The sformato is a unique culinary entity, with the sophistication of a soufflé but employing more simple technique.
Octopus: As U.S. demographics continue to diversify, interest in this type of sea creature will only grow. Its anticipated that octopus will appear in specialty food seafood salads with a Mediterranean feel that includes olives, roasted peppers and tomatoes.
Egyptian Dukkah: Dukkah has many attributes of a snack foodcrunch, a little bit of salt and a spice kick. It also works well as a low-sodium savory seasoning in various applications, including in hummus or dip, whole grains or pasta dishes, salad dressing or a roasted root soup, such as carrot, for extra strong flavor.
Dips Beyond Hummus: The demand for Mediterranean Rim dips taps into Americans interest in finding healthful snack foods that taste great. Besides being wheat-, gluten- and (often) dairy-free, Mediterranean spreads can be low-fat, low-cholesterol, high-fiber, protein-rich options for vegetarians, vegans and other health-conscious consumers. These kinds of refrigerated dips come in convenient packaging, making healthful, grab-and-go snacking a possibility for everyone from toddlers to teens and busy Millennials to baby boomers.
Moroccan Preserved Lemons: While these condiments are easily made at home, preserved lemons require sufficient time to mature, which makes them a tough sell to many home cooks; consequently, the opportunity is ripe to supply these preserved beauties to consumers at non-specialty prices.
Spanish Paella: Theres been renewed enthusiasm for this classic dish, as evidenced by its presence on many independent restaurant menus. The trend is part of chefs personal exploration of traditional Spanish cuisine as well as a way to offer a unique, sharable dish that can also be made in many different ways.
The Mediterranean Diet: The Mediterranean way of eatinga diet rich in olive oil, nuts, seafood and producehas long been touted as good for ones health. Of course, health benefits are not the only reason this cuisine has become increasingly popular in the United States: a winning flavor profile, readily available fresh fruits, vegetables and seafood, and a growing interest in global regional cuisines has helped Mediterranean food become popular, not only in its more mainstream forms, like pita bread and chips, hummus and Greek yogurt, but also in newly emerging Mediterranean-inspired fast-casual restaurants that offer diners healthful meal options.