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Take Me Away!

Your Ticket to Culinary Travels

August 15, 2022

TAKE ME AWAY! Food and exploration have always gone hand in hand, and today’s retail and menu offerings give consumers even more opportunities to expand their culinary horizons. 

Sixty-five percent of US consumers agree that seeking out new flavors is fun for them.1 Foodservice operations are delivering the unique and unfamiliar, while also satisfying whims of wanderlust with cross-cultural offerings. A bakery-café chain in Hong Kong recently added a Thai-style plant-based crab cake salad to the menu, while a US-based Mediterranean fast casual chain is spicing up their traditional falafel with Spanish and Italian twists on the recipe.

Areas ideal for consumers to sample global flavors are the snack, appetizer, dessert and beverage menus. These bold, yet “low risk,” items are easy ways to introduce consumers to new flavors that cross geographical borders. For example, tahini is being added as a coffee ingredient across the States, churros have seen the highest menu penetration growth on US dessert menus over the past four years,2 and dumplings and hummus continue to be top appetizers on US menus.3
Not all flavor adventures stray far from home—regional recipes are taking off, too. The Italian outposts of a global QSR burger chain are focusing on just that, with specialties like the Pecorino Romano & Scamorza Burger, 'Nduja Burger and Parmigiano-Reggiano Burger adding local flair to the menu. In the US, an East Coast salad concept has debuted their “Destination California Menu” filled with regional and global flavors true to Californian culture, while a Dallas-based build-your-own-bowl chain offered the Low Country Boil Bowl, a chef-curated combination of sausage, crab, shrimp, potatoes, jalapenos, onions, and roasted corn in Old Bay Butter served over rice.
With unlimited inspiration from street food, comfort fare and fusion-style twists, consumers are ready and willing to travel the world with their taste buds!


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Operators will find new ways to fill familiar formats with global flavors and vice versa to ease guests into trying new items.  

Operators will lean into specific regional flavors to differentiate and provide more nuanced offerings.    

With consumers traveling and choosing to dine in-person again, presentation is everything. Foodservice operators will showcase street-food-inspired dishes and social-media-worthy global recipes.

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As mashups and fusion cuisine grow in popularity, unique and innovative dishes such as Italian-inspired falafel, bao bun hamburgers and affogato with Chinese fried dough strips are showing up on menus.   

Authenticity continues to infiltrate the non-commercial space; it’s a must. In the C&U segment alone, 48% of students said they would like their school to offer more globally inspired foods and beverages.4 Contract management companies are creating celebrity chef partnerships to expand global flavors, ramen robots are assembling ramen combinations to order, and global pop-up concepts on campuses are bringing unique experiences to the traditional dining room.

Meal kits provide the perfect solution for cooking up flavors from around the world in one’s own kitchen, while removing the need to research or source potentially unfamiliar ingredients. Processors have the opportunity to dive deeper into lesser-known cuisines and regional specialties.

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Adventurous consumers are the perfect audience for authentic global flavors. Join Chef Mark Serice as he demonstrates his take on a traditional Sichuan-style dish: Black Sea Bass with Douban Chili Bean Sauce. This unforgettable dish features a whole deep-fried fish smothered in a slow-simmered fermented fava bean and chili paste sauce.

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culinary inspiration

Get inspired by these on-trend concepts to create innovative offerings using Custom Culinary® products. 

Citrus Chili Short Rib Tostadas

Citrus Chili Short Rib Tostadas

Seared short ribs braised in Custom Culinary® Latin-Style Citrus Chili Sauce, layered on crisp tortillas with avocado, caramelized onion, cilantro, lime and an extra drizzle of Latin-Style Citrus Chili Sauce.

Featuring: Custom Culinary® Latin-Style Citrus Chili Sauce #9667

Korean BBQ Sandwich

Skirt steak marinated overnight Custom Culinary® Bulgogi Marinade, served on a crusty French roll with pickled cucumber
and carrot, scallions and Custom Culinary® Bibimbap Sauce-infused mayo.

Custom Culinary® Bulgogi Marinade #6568 and
Custom Culinary® Bibimbap Sauce #6569

Get the recipe >>

Korean BBQ Sandwich



"Take me away for a virtual global adventure for dinner tonight! Chefs are creating exciting global sensory adventures that transport their guests simply by pairing a trusted authentic culinary flavor or complete sauce with your signature recipes for a fun twist that will keep your guests excited to follow your creative offerings to your menu." 
- Chef Scott Gilbert, CEC, AAC, HGT

“The world is small but now more than ever travel and food exploration is harder than ever! Thankfully the US is a melting pot of 1000’s of cuisines. By adding some of these unique and flavor forward dishes to your menu, customers can almost imagine that they are in the water markets of Vietnam or on top of a mountain in Peru enjoying the smells and tastes of different cultures.”
– Chef David Russell, WCEC, CEC, AAC, HGT, CBJ
"Americans are discovering new foods, and flavors as they try exciting ethnic dishes at home and in their favorite local eateries.  Operators can add global favorites to the menu by running daily specials and even preparing take-home meal kits."
- Chef Michael Speranza, CEC

"There is no denying the craveable allure and energetic flavors that all street food seems to have. If it is fast, portable, aromatic, action filled and most importantly flavorful then folks no matter what part of the world you are in will line up for a taste of what you're serving. Don't be afraid to adapt these distinct street food qualities into your take away program in any segment foodservice. All by infusing quick preparations, global flavors and formats like ones found in the portability of handhelds, Custom Culinary makes the prefect partner to provide bold flavors with the ease of use for activating innovative take away formats today!"
- Chef Michael Manno

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Culinary Expertise Around the Globe

Griffith Foods’ culinary network extends throughout five regions around the world—bringing a truly global perspective to our work. Our ability to work with authentic flavors and ingredients is unparalleled!

With a combined 190+ years of both front- and back-of-house experience, our renowned chefs know just what it takes to create exceptional flavor systems and innovative, delicious products. We can help you satisfy consumers’ appetites while expanding your bottom line.

Learn more about our approach to culinary craftsmanship.  



Chef Michael Hornback

Now more than ever, consumers want to escape. But it may not be feasible to book a trip to a far-flung destination at this time. Is there another way to satisfy that wanderlust? Luckily, new retail and menu offerings will allow consumers to travel the world with their taste buds! While pandemic eating concentrated mainly on comfort food and nostalgic ingredients, consumers have become more adventurous, craving global flavors of all kinds. Join Chef Michael Hornback, MPS, CEC, WCEC, CCA, as he takes us on the "Take Me Away" journey.

Listen to the Podcast

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*Custom Culinary® is part of the Griffith Foods family of companies

1 Mintel Consulting, 2022 FlavorIQ® Global Trends and Insights Report, January 2022
2 Datassential, MenuTrends Infinite accessed Aug. 9, 2022
3 Datassential, MenuTrends Appetizer Overview accessed Aug. 9, 2022
4 Technomic, 2021 College & University Consumer Trend Report, May 2021; quoted by, Meeting the high demand for Mexican-inspired and plant-based eats, June 2022