2023 Flavor Trends Include Global Flair

2023 Flavor Trends Include Global Flair

With global flavors from Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, and South America trending this year1, it’s an excellent time to experiment with spices and seasonings from these parts of the world.

Among the spices rising in popularity over the past 12 months are star anise (+17.3% on U.S. menus2), a spice from the Southeast Asian island country of the Philippines, with a sweet, licorice-like flavor.

Demerara, a minimally processed raw sugar that originated in the South American country of Guyana, is up 11.9% on U.S. menus2. It can be used in baked goods, sweet beverages, or as a crunchy topping on desserts like crème brûlée.

In Caribbean cuisine, particularly foods inspired by Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba, coriander is a popular spice, up 15.8% on U.S. menus2.

Other international spices with huge potential this year are2:

  • Tajin (+50.3% over the past 12 months)
  • Chili powder (+26.4%)
  • Red pepper flakes (+22.4%)
  • Black garlic (+15.8%)


In other global food trends, Latin American flavors like tinga (chipotle tomato sauce), aji limo (a hot, lemony pepper), and huacatay (a robust and aromatic herb from the marigold family) are showing up more and more on menus in the U.S.3

In Asian cuisine, spicy, pickled, fermented, and sweet-heat flavors are trending. Younger consumers are also showing an interest in flavors from Morocco, Ethiopia, and other African countries.4

The spicy plus sweet trend continues into 2023, with sriracha-spiced condiments all the rage.5 Add it to mayo, ranch, honey, honey butter, or ketchup for a simple but flavorful dipping sauce.

Trending sauces this year range from sweet to spicy to tart and everything in-between. It should be no surprise by now that Nashville Hot is still a huge star in the foodservice world. Up 31.2% on menus over the past 12 months2, the Nashville Hot flavor has expanded from chicken to cheese curds, breaded cauliflower, rolled tacos, and more. Honey infused with chili peppers (aka hot honey) is up 20.3% on U.S. menus2, making it the ideal sweet-heat flavor to drizzle on chicken or vegetables, or as a dipping sauce for spring rolls.

Speaking of sweet and heat, mango and habanero is an on-trend flavor combo, up 13.7% on U.S. menus over the past 12 months2. A prepared appetizer like creamy mango habanero bites is an easy way for any operation to benefit from this trend.

On the simply sweet side, strawberry sauce is growing in popularity, showing up on menus 17.4% more than the previous 12 months2. Try serving a unique but easy-to-prep dessert made from cheese manicotti topped with vanilla cream sauce, fresh berries, and strawberry sauce to take advantage of this trend.

Other sauces that are on the uptick on menus include2:

  • Agave syrup (+17.2% over the past 12 months)
  • Basil aioli (+16.3%)
  • Creamy italian (+15.6%)
  • Dijon sauce (+14.8%)
  • Gremolata (+13.8%)
  • Mild salsa (+11.3%)
  • Spicy mayo (+11.0%)


One of the most on-trend appetizers over the past year is loaded tots (+9.9%). Tots filled with queso fresco, jalapeño, and bacon make the ideal addition to any menu. In the side dish category, top trends include fried cauliflower (+15.1% over the past 12 months), and fried rice (+1.8%)2.

For entrées, Latin-inspired salads are popular — chicken taco salads are up 73% on U.S. menus over the past 12 months, followed by chicken fajita salads, up 34.9%2. Add flair by topping with mini red jalapeño chicken tacos or mini shredded beef taquitos.

In Asian and fusion cuisine, chicken dumplings are showing up on menus 13.7% more than the previous 12 months2. Gourmet chicken potstickers and chicken wontons are great additions to menus, either as entrées, appetizers, or salad/soup toppers.

As a leader in culinary innovation, Ajinomoto Foods North America can help you stay informed. Check out our easy-to-serve, trend-forward products and follow our blog at AjinomotoFoodservice.com.



1 NRA, What’s Hot Culinary Forecast 2023

2 Datassential 2023

3 Symrise 2023

4 Fuchs North America 2023

5 Food Business News 2023

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