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The Wide World Of Flavor In 2022

Stacy Bailey

Every year, there are new developments related to consumer tastes. To keep up with the menu innovations that attract their attention, just follow the trends and insights. Here’s a journey into the wide world of flavor happening now.

Go Greek

History repeats itself, and Greek cuisine is like a trojan horse once again breaking barriers in our culinary imagination. This development is made possible because of the exhilarating exchange of ideas between the culinary experts abroad in Athens and at home in American restaurants.1 Greek cuisines offer a bright and breezy dining experience with a laid-back cool and communal aesthetic that invites parties of four or more. Modern applications include grilling cheeses like manouri and kefalograviera; Greek yogurt and honey; charred pita; grilled lamb; and shareable dips like taramasalata and spreads like htipiti (similar to pimento cheese).1

Feeding this trend’s popularity, the Mediterranean diet has been called, “the world’s ideal food pyramid.”1 Greek cuisines follow this model with ingredients rich in antioxidants, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals, such as olive oil, yogurt, legumes, fish, nuts and produce.1

A Tropical Punch-Up

Americans everywhere need a little sweet escape in 2022, so tropical flavors and foods are back on the menu. Now is the time to offer this get-away vacation. The mood-boosting fun and refreshing notes of tropical cuisines send feel-good vibes your menu’s way. From coconut chutney to pineapple-habanero glaze, from passionfruit barbecue sauce to jerk brine and caramel-rum syrup, these tropical flavors play up the savory, spicy and sweet varieties of life to appeal to every taste.2 

It’s not only classics like coconut, pineapple, mango and lime bringing menus to life, but guava, tamarind and passionfruit adding boosts of vitalitymaking this trend a hot spot.2 However, to complete this vacation, spices such as cinnamon, garam masala and cardamom, along with aggressive cooking techniques, such as charring, grilling and caramelizing, bring in welcome contrasts of flavor and texture.2

Mexican Comfort Foods 

This year, like most recent years, comfort foods continue to draw crowds, and Mexican fare offers the nearest, dearest comfort for many consumers. This cuisine is complex. There are many regional flavors and nuances making menu development a wide-open adventure of its own.3 Three currently popular items ready for center stage are the quesadilla, the taquito and birria.

Although traditionally made with goat, in America, birria de res (beef), is the popular choice.3 It’s go-to format is called the quesabirria — featuring shredded meat and cheese stuffed inside a tortilla that is griddled to deliver a texture experience that is at once crispy and chewy3 — then served with a side of consommé for dipping. It’s easy to let your creative juices flow with mashups: topped on pizzas, tucked into egg rolls or layered in a grilled cheese.3

The thing about quesadillas and taquitos: the more familiar a dish, the easier it becomes for operators think outside the box to create signature menu items. For quesadillas, innovating this classic is rooted in new cross-cultural flavor introductions and creative applications: filled with shaved ribeye or brisket, or developed with inventive folds or crusts with cheese on the outside.3 And for taquitos, sharing variations in menu rotations is everything. Stuff them with lobster knuckle and claw meat, braised shredded prime beef or marinated chicken. Then, add your prerogative of potatoes, cheese and sauces.3

Surlean Foods can help you explore global trends to find what fits your menu. Our recipe development experts have the skills and knowledge to set you up for the future of flavor. Reach out—we’re ready to serve you.

To start a conversation, visit

1 Greek to me – 2022 top 10 trends. Flavor & The Menu. (2022, January 19). Retrieved March 9, 2022, from

2 Tropic like it’s hot – 2022 top 10 trends. Flavor & The Menu. (2022, January 27). Retrieved March 9, 2022, from

3 Mexican comfort – 2022 top 10 trends. Flavor & The Menu. (2022, February 15). Retrieved March 9, 2022, from

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