Forty-nine percent of consumers more likely to visit restaurants that offer new or innovative flavors, up from 33% in 2009, Technomic says

CHICAGO , November 30, 2011 (press release) – A precarious balance has been struck in the restaurant industry, with prices being held as low as possible to attract frugal consumers, while rising commodity costs chip away at profit margins. A new study by Technomic shows that current market forces are making craveability and culinary expertise increasingly relevant to consumers, many of whom say they are more interested in experiencing new flavours 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 flavours into existing menus can be a low-cost and easy way to grow sales and attract new customers. In our newest study, 36 percent of consumers said they are more interested in trying new and unique flavours, compared to a year ago. So keeping the focus on food taste and flavour is a powerful long-term strategy."

To help those aligned with the foodservice industry in keeping a pulse on flavour trends infused during food preparation as well as those added through sauces, dips and condiments, Technomic has developed the 2011 Canadian Flavour Consumer Trend Report.

Interesting findings include:

* Of consumers surveyed, 49 percent said they would be more likely to visit a restaurant that offers new or innovative flavours, up from 33 percent of those surveyed in a 2009 study.
* It's no surprise that classic Italian flavours dominate the pizza landscape. But a look at the menus of emerging limited- and full-service pizza chains reveals that sweet, hot, smoky, spicy and fruity flavour profiles are also top flavour varieties for pizza, helping to differentiate signature offerings.
* Leading all other options, almost three out of four consumers (74 percent) say that preparation style is an appealing way for restaurants to add flavour to their food. Year-over-year data suggests that flavours imparted by preparation style have increased in popularity by 4 percent between 2009 and 2011.
* Flavours imparted by spreads, sauces or condiments that come with food are appealing to 53 percent of consumers, a 7 percent increase from those surveyed in 2009. This indicates an opportunity for continued development of signature house-prepared sauces and spreads.

Technomic's 2011 Canadian Flavour Consumer Trend Report examines flavour preferences, attitudes and purchasing behavior based on survey results from more than 1,000 consumers. Data from 1,500 U.S. Consumers is also available. The Menu Insights section utilizes Technomic's exclusive MenuMonitor trend-tracking tool to provide an in-depth look at how leading, independent and emerging chain operators are incorporating top flavour profiles into menu items. Along with major entree categories, the report contains in-depth explorations of beverage, dessert, snack and appetizer dip flavour preferences.

Menu and consumer data from Technomic's 2009 Canadian Flavour Consumer Trend Report is also discussed throughout the report to provide deeper insights into emerging flavour trends. An appendix to the report shows how the top 10 most frequently menued entree flavours are being used on menus. Demographic profiles of consumers who enjoy these flavours for entree sauces are included in those appendixes.

To purchase or learn more about this report please visit www.technomic.com/canada or contact one of the individuals listed below.

Contacts

Press Inquiries: Darren Tristano, 312-506-3850, or dtristano@technomic.com

Purchasing Details: Patrick Noone, 312-506-3852, or pnoone@technomic.com

Report Details: Kelly Weikel, 312-506-3830, or kweikel@technomic.com

About Technomic

Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support they need to enhance their business strategies, decisions and results. Its services include numerous publications and digital products, as well as proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry.

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