Trend-forward rolled tacos are filled with flavor

Rolled tacos with different fillings: Chicken, Cheese, Hatch Chile, Korean BBQ style and Nashville hot style

Trend-forward rolled tacos are filled with flavor

It’s no longer groundbreaking news that consumers are craving spicy foods more than ever before. A recent survey showed that 80% of consumers enjoy hot and spicy foods, while over half of those surveyed eat spicy foods at least once a week.1

Foodservice operations have capitalized on the trend, with 20% more hot/spicy product launches compared to the previous decade, and with each year showing a steady increase.¹

 

A twist on the spicy foods trend that’s expected to grow in coming years, however, is showing up in the form of “complex heat,” in which spicy peppers are combined with a sweet, sour, savory, or tangy flavor profile. Consumer interest in complex heat flavors has grown by 20% over the past year, with much of this interest coming from a growing demand for authentic global food experiences.2

Consumers are also showing more interest in specific pepper varieties, like habanero, Hatch chile, and jalapeno.2Habanero pepper is on 9.4% of U.S. menus (up 20% over the past four years), Hatch chile is on 1.6% of U.S. menus (+24%), and the ever-popular jalapeño is on 57.6% of U.S. menus (+2%).³

 

Much the way sriracha became a flavor sensation a few years ago, hyper-local and specific regional spicy flavors are now firmly established in the mainstream, such as:4

  • Crushed chili peri peri sauce from Africa and Portugal
  • Aji amarillo pepper from South America
  • A variety of curries from India
  • Gochujang from Korea
  • Za’atar from the Middle East
  • Togarashi from Japan
  • Berbere from Ethiopia

 

Complex spicy flavors plus the continuing popularity of Latin cuisine make foods like rolled tacos a great fit for most foodservice operations. Rolled tacos are stuffed end-to-end with flavorful fillings in a crunchy rolled taco shell, coated in a seasoned batter, and deep-fried. They’re also frozen and ready to eat, making them easy to prep in a foodservice kitchen.

Flavors like Chicken, Cheese, and Hatch Chile; Nashville Hot Style Chicken; and Korean Style BBQ Beef fit all of the above flavor profiles and many more, as well as being easy for consumers to eat on the go, and they hold well for takeout and delivery.

Chicken and cheese rolled tacos on a wood board with dipping sauces

Chicken, Cheese, and Hatch Chile Rolled Tacos are filled with seasoned chicken, Hatch green chiles, and jalapeño cheddar cheese. Hatch chile items are expected to grow by 42% on restaurant menus by 2026, and are expected to outperform 93% of all other foods and ingredients over the next four years.3

Nashville Hot Style Chicken Rolled Tacos, featuring a blend of seasoned chicken, tomato paste, habanero, jalapeño, cayenne, paprika, and cilantro, features the incredibly popular Nashville Hot flavor, which is up 296% on U.S. menus over the past four years!

Korean Style BBQ Beef Rolled Tacos filled with seasoned beef, gochujang sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, onions, and red chile peppers, take advantage of the popularity of gochujang (on 2.3% of U.S. menus, up 68% over the past four years), and Korean BBQ (on 2.7% of U.S. menus, up 39% over the past four years).3

Korean style BBQ beef rolled tacos on a salad with BBQ dipping sauce

All three rolled taco varieties are an excellent way to reach the more than half of Gen Z and Millennial consumers who want dishes featuring a fusion of flavors3 and serve globally inspired menu items with the spicy flavors that are trending into 2023 and beyond.

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.

Resources:
1 Kalsec, 2022
2 Spoonshot, 2022
3 Datassential, 2022
4 Food Business News, 2022

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