Culinary Mashups Get Creative

Merging flavors and formats to create something new.

In today’s accelerated trend cycle, culinary evolution means bringing new flavors into surprising formats. Chefs and manufacturers are evaluating classic dishes in a new light, taking the flavor “essence” in a playful new direction.

For example, global restaurants are finding ways to showcase their signature offerings alongside iconic dishes from other parts of the world. One chain served popcorn chicken bites over a popular brand of instant noodles in India, while offering a fried chicken taco shell filled with mac and cheese in Singapore. A US-based taco chain brought the flavors of Vietnamese pho into a taco, filled with chicken, bok choy, herb salad and pickled onions, served with a side of broth for dipping. And Brazilian temakerias, or sushi bars, offer traditional Japanese hand rolls filled with native Brazilian fruit (Mintel, 2023).

From an operational standpoint, reimagining recipes also helps with efficiencies and cross-utilization of products. Not only does it keep patrons engaged and excited, it’s a great way to repurpose leftovers and manage food waste.

On the protein side, we’re seeing combinations of carriers and fillings that showcase meat and plant-based options—and take consumers on an international journey. Grocery shoppers in Argentina can find Indian-inspired tikka croquettes with chickpeas, veggies and masala spice. In India, Chinese bao filled with butter chicken, pizza ingredients or BBQ chicken are available in the freezer aisle. And in China, Sichuan “spicy and tingling” tomato Bolognese pasta showcases a mashup with Italian flavors (Mintel, 2023). These products bring authentic elements of global cuisines into completely new and exciting formats.

When it comes to snacking, anything goes! Unexpected dessert flavors are a huge theme, with options such as churro and dulce de leche-flavored Brazilian protein bars and American apple pie dessert hummus found in retail. Entrées-as-snacks—including cacio e pepe rice puffs, garlic fried chicken corn puffs and brisket “burnt ends” dip—also meet consumer desire for something familiar, yet new.

If you want to dive into “dishes as flavors” innovation, consider a seasonal approach. Items like turkey burgers topped with gravy, cranberry chutney and deep-fried stuffing have been hits in the US with a “Thanksgiving leftovers” theme. And elevated dessert flavors such as mocha, lavender, chai and pumpkin can find a home in unexpected savory applications. Just remember that a bit of experimentation and creativity can yield delicious results.

Segment Snapshot


Operators are playing up the demand for comfort food by adding new flavors to popular dishes, such as burgers and sandwiches with globally inspired ingredients.


Classic dishes are serving as inspiration for flavors, formats and carriers in the protein category. Global street foods (such as bao), pasta dishes and even desserts are bringing a new twist to protein innovation.


CPG brands are reimagining global flavors, on-trend dishes and memorable ingredients as smaller bites, including everything from dessert-inspired flavors to snack-ified versions of classic entrées like tacos, cacio e pepe and pizza.

Sweet Inspiration from a Savory Dish

Chef Adam Wright is here to transform the ever-popular Thai tom yum soup into a plant-based coconut sundae with an exciting recipe that plays up the lemongrass, lime, galangal and chile flavors for a brand-new format. Watch him use Griffith Foods Tom Yum Seasoning in unexpected ways in our latest video!

Create and Innovate

Butter Chicken, Reimagined

A creamy, richly seasoned butter chicken entrée can be transformed into something new and unforgettable. Shred the prepared chicken and layer over a sauced flatbread with mozzarella, bell pepper, onion and pineapple to create a Butter Chicken Pizza. Or, for a signature snack, serve up Butter Chicken Popcorn seasoned with garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, cumin and a secret ingredient—chicken flavored gravy mix!

Featuring Custom Culinary® Chicken Flavored Gravy Mix


It’s all about transformation of the traditional. Whether you’re looking to create a mashup of unexpected dishes or take the essence of an entrée into a new format, such as a snack seasoning, Griffith Foods and Custom Culinary® are here to help. Our products bring creativity and exceptional performance to both sweet and savory applications.


From spice blends to marinades, our unique seasonings enhance flavor, appearance and aromatics of finished dishes.

  • Sichuan Vegan Bao Marinade and Seasoning
  • Pimento Cheese Seasoning
  • Ancho and Agave Brine

Sauces and Dressings

Always crafted with a chef-driven approach, our sauces and condiments deliver exceptional flavor inspired by authentic global recipes.

  • “Bang-Bang” Shrimp and Seafood Sauce
  • Cola and Lime Glaze for Grilled Chicken
  • Ssamjang and Sesame Dressing

Textures and Coatings

Our value-added coating systems are optimized for taste, texture and performance—making it easy to incorporate on-trend flavors in a memorable way.

  • Everything Bagel Coating System
  • Cornflake Coating System
  • Korean Ramen Coating System


Contact your Griffith Foods representative to learn how these exciting, versatile products can be used across product formats, menu items and innovation platforms.

Chef Tip: “Creating a mashup of two authentic dishes, such as Sichuan mapo tofu and Canadian poutine, can bring a flavor experience to new heights. In this case, swap the french fries for crispy polenta sticks and top with spicy, mouth-numbing mapo tofu instead of gravy and cheese curds. This reimagined take will set your menu apart.”

–Chef Mark Serice, Vice President Global Culinary, Griffith Foods

Looking Forward: What’s next for reimagined recipes?

© 2023 Griffith Foods. All rights reserved.

“Food flavor trends to keep an eye on,” AdAge, October 13, 2021.
Mintel, 2023 FlavorIQ® Food and Flavor Outlook Report, January 2023.
Technomic, Global Food & Beverage Consumer Trend Report, 2022.

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