Culinary experiences can reach new heights with imaginative products and menu items that engage all the senses. By connecting flavors, textures, temperatures and aromas with visually appealing presentations, food can transport consumers on a captivating and unforgettable journey that builds brand loyalty.
We’re seeing this play out with unexpected applications in the protein category. For example, a fast food chain in Singapore serves fried chicken “popsicles” with a container of fizzy seasoning for the consumer to sprinkle on as they eat. Bold color is on the menu in Thailand, where an LTO salmon burger is served on a pink bun as an homage to a beloved K-pop group. Format is another way to mix things up, such as a fine dining restaurant in Brazil that features pork in surprising dishes like sushi and tartare.
Restaurant operators are demonstrating their ability to capture the imagination of consumers with fully immersive brand and food events that extend beyond the plate. A “dark dining experience” in London gives guests the opportunity to enjoy a meal in complete darkness, allowing for the connection to all other senses beyond sight. In the US, a QSR chain even sold a limited-edition line of clothing that smelled like hickory wood smoke to promote a country-style rib sandwich.
Within the snacking category, innovations range from experiential to truly extraordinary. One Japanese candy bar is packaged in paper instead of plastic, with instructions for creating an origami crane from the wrapper. “Bubbly” sunflower seeds in China deliver a sensation similar to drinking a carbonated beverage. And in the UAE, scientists are creating edible holograms that can be molded onto the surface of chocolate. Not only do these creations capture the imagination, they make for great social media buzz. Meals and product experiences like these truly bring the sensory adventure trend to life and leave a lasting impression.
3 Trends to Watch
Creative plant-based meat analogues will deliver unique sensory experiences, while animal proteins will experiment with new coatings and textural inclusions.
Smell, sound and texture will be areas of exploration for CPG snack brands looking to engage and delight customers through innovative packaging.
Operators will enhance the dining experience by presenting food in artful and impactful ways, with social-media-ready touches such as sauce drizzle “drawings” and gravity-defying layers of ingredient toppings.
A Culinary-Crafted Sensory Journey
When it comes to the sensory adventure trend, expect the unexpected! Watch Chef Jaime Mestan create agedashi tofu, a dish that showcases texture, temperature and eye appeal with ingredients such as silken tofu, crisp tempura, piping-hot dashi and delicate bonito flakes.
Molecular gastronomy and immersive visual and sound technology can be used in restaurants to impress diners in unexpected ways, while offering a temporary escape. Innovative and sensory-stimulating dishes live on when posted to social media.
Traditional preparations, such as open-fire cooking, bring reassuring comfort to protein-based dishes, while innovative coatings create unique textural experiences. Novel proteins, such as insects, can offer a thrill—but it’s critical to ensure that any experimental applications remain appetizing.
Consumers are eager to try snacks with unusual tastes, textures and appearances—it’s all about the experience! Showcase innovation and creativity with playful combinations that appeal to adventurous consumers.
Get inspired by these on-trend concepts to create innovative offerings using products from Griffith Foods.
A sensory experience from start to finish! Soft silken tofu is coated in a delicate tempura batter and flash-fried, then placed in a shallow pool of umami-rich dashi stock. Daikon delivers a cool, yet slightly bitter punch while gossamer-thin bonito shavings wave back and forth from the heat rising off the tofu.
Featuring: Griffith Foods Rice Tempura Pre-dust and Batter, Griffith Foods Dashi Broth Dipping Sauce and Seasoning
Singapore Chili Crab Curry with Shrimp Krupuk
Piping-hot wok-fried hard shell crabs bring a complex textural element to a richly seasoned curry of chilies, galangal, ginger, lemongrass, garlic, shallot and rice wine vinegar. Serve over a bed of makrut-lime-seasoned puffed shrimp crackers that crackle and pop once the hot curry is poured on top.
Featuring: Griffith Foods Singapore Chili Curry Marinade, Griffith Foods Singapore Chili Curry Sauce, Griffith Foods Makrut Lime Snack Seasoning, Griffith Foods Rice Tempura Pre-dust and Batter
“Deliver a memorable multi-sensory experience by adding fresh, raw aromatics like herbs and spices over any sautéed or steamed dish. Pour a small amount of smoking-hot oil over the fresh ingredients, creating sizzle and a whiff of floral steam.”
–Chef Mark Serice, Vice President Global Culinary, Griffith Foods
Exploring Sensory Science
The sensory science team at Griffith Foods uses a rigorous quantitative process for evaluating how ingredients and products are perceived, using the five senses. Their work plays a key role throughout the development process, helping our customers confirm that their product offerings meet consumer needs. Our team applies an array of sensory techniques to ensure that the defining characteristics of a product—including taste, texture, aroma and appearance—are quantifiably superior, reducing risk and accelerating speed to market for new items.
By examining the subtleties among products, we can pinpoint the sensory attributes that may drive consumer preferences. That critical information helps us create unique solutions that provide value for our partners, while satisfying consumers’ preferences and expectations.
© 2022 Griffith Foods. All rights reserved.
Source: Mintel, 2022 FlavorIQ® Global Trends and Insights Report, January 2022.