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As the calendar pages continue to flip and diners are getting antsy to return to normalcy, we point our eyes toward the summer season and present a few exciting trends that can help shape your menu for the upcoming months.

Comfort is Still Big

Comfort food has played a large role in pandemic dining (both at home and at restaurants), and that trend appears to continue in what diners are seeking. The desire for feeling safe while venturing out to see friends and family is outweighing the need for adventurous ingredients.1 Mac and cheese, stews or a classic pot pie look to provide that culinary hug.

Zeroing in on Drink Roots

Over the last year, people have spent a fair amount of time within their family pods, often experiencing a deeper appreciation for their own roots. So diners seem to be responding to drinks that reflect a sense of where spirits came from…for instance, mezcal as a drink that predates tequila, or even moonshine that gave birth to whiskey.1

Crunchy Texture

The next step in the creativity behind sandwiches and burgers appears to be texture. Adding layers such as potato chips, wasabi peas, pork rinds, tortilla chips or wontons add a surprising crunch element and creates the opportunity for a more memorable bite.2

Stunning Smoke

Where there’s smoke, there’s deliciousness. Although different from heavily smoked items like barbecue, subtle undertones and smoky hints are giving an intriguing richness and umami flavor to many unexpected items like butter, potatoes, eggs, guacamole and even cocktails.3

1 Real Simple, “21 (Delicious) Food and Dining Trends Coming Your Way in 2021 According to Food Experts,” December 28, 2020

2 Flavor & The Menu, “Creative Crunch offers a New Flavor Burst,” January 28, 2021

3 Flavor & The Menu, “Smoke’s New Draw,” March 15, 2020

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