Market Research Logo

Latino Foods: The Next Wave: Culinary Trend Mapping Report

Do you remember what you were doing when you first heard what is now a very famous factoid? Way back in 1992, Packaged Facts revealed a tantalizing bit of data: That year, American shoppers would spend more on salsa than on ketchup. That offered a vivid way of thinking about huge demographic shifts. For those of us in the business of tantalizing taste buds, it embodied the revolution we’d been tracking. The boom in the U.S. Latino population, combined with general demand for vibrant new foods and flavors, was reaching the tipping point.

Those years of the early ‘90s saw the nation’s first mainstream wave of Latino foods: salsa, chipotles, blue cornmeal, black beans. Since then, CCD’s Culinary Trend Mapping Report has charted the movement of empanadas, ceviche, churrasco, chimichurri, agua fresca and plantains, to name a few. But a new wave of ingredients, flavors and cuisines from Latin America is surging through Miami and New York, LA and San Francisco, bringing us flavors and ingredients from Oaxaca, the Yucatán and Mexico City, from Peru and Brazil, and from Cuba and Puerto Rico.

With those drivers in mind, we found excitement at all five stages of the Trend Map®:

  • Stage 1
  • New Sources of Sabor: Meet three vivid new flavorings: the Mexican epazote, Caribbean Seville (sour) oranges and Peruvian aji amarillo chiles.
  • Sofrito: The Caribbean’s favorite simmer sauce is proving a zippy flavor base with exciting regional variations.
  • Stage 2
  • Latin American Rotisserie Chicken: With authentic flavors and prime poultry and seasonings, it’s not just for quick-serve anymore.
  • Where are they now: Pupusas
  • Stage 3
  • Mexican Cheeses: With U.S. production ramping up, say goodbye to jack and hello to Oaxaca.
  • Tableside Guacamole: Like rotisserie chicken, guacamole has been reborn.
  • Stage 4
  • Soft Corn Tortilla Tacos: Street-style soft wraps are making us feel healthy and traditional.
  • Stage 5
  • Mojito Flavor: The classic Cuban cocktail has morphed into a flavor profile with broad applications.
  • Where are they now? Aguas Frescas

In addition, we’ve coupled the Latin food stars profiled in this report with four compelling macro trends shaping today’s marketplace and make suggestions for various opportunities:

  • Bold flavors
  • Authenticity
  • Healthfulness
  • Convenience

    With extensive profiles of each ingredient/food emerging within the five stages of the trend map, this issue of the Culinary Trend Mapping Report provides you with the most up-to-date, insider’s look at what’s hot and what’s not in the world of food. Top food marketers rely on trend mapping to keep them on the pulse of what’s happening and what’s about to happen as far as consumer tastes are concerned.

    • • •The Culinary Trend Mapping Report is an indispensable tool for those whose job it is to stay abreast of what's hot - or what will be - in the food world!

    Using the Center for Culinary Development’s (CCD) signature Trend Mapping® technique, a validated method identifying which culinary trends are “gaining traction” and which are simply flashes in the pan, each report concentrates on a theme, or trend, that is affecting the food industry, and then looks at the emerging and established ingredients, cooking styles and products along the Trend Map that are driving this theme.

    Each report is a 75+ page journal packed with trends, data, strategies and insights on the food industry that simply aren't available anywhere else.

    Each Issue of the Culinary Trends Mapping Report

    • Identifies the maturity level of foods and ingredients according to CCD’s unique, proprietary 5-stage trend mapping process.
    • Concentrates on a theme that is affecting the food industry, and then looks at the emerging and established trends along the Trend Map that affect—or are affected by—this theme.
    • Delves into these trends and what they mean for you and the manufacturing, retailing, and foodservice industries.
    • Gives strategic insight into how consumers are thinking of and reacting to new foods and ingredients.
    • Provides business know-how regarding opportunities, challenges, and ways to implement current trends into foodservice, retail, and packaged goods operations.
    • Presents a feature interview with a member chef from CCD’s exclusive 80+ member Chefs’ Council® that offers expert analysis and his or her perspective on a specific trend.

    Trend Mapping®

    Trend Mapping® is guided by the premise that major food trends pass through five distinct stages on their way to the mainstream:

    • Stage 1: The ingredient, dish and/or cooking technique appears at upscale dining establishments, ethnic and popular independent restaurants.
    • Stage 2: The item is featured in specialty consumer-oriented food magazines, such as Gourmet and Bon Appetit plus retail stores such as Sur La Table that target culinary professionals and serious home cooks.
    • Stage 3: The item begins to appear in mainstream chain restaurants -- Applebee's or Chili's --as well as retail stores such as Williams-Sonoma that target recreational cooks.
    • Stage 4: Publications such as Family Circle and Better Homes and Gardens pick up the buzz.
    • Stage 5: Finally, the trend makes its way to quick service restaurant menus and is either starting to appear or is having increased presence on grocery store shelves.


    Published bimonthly, the Culinary Trend Mapping Report is available for purchase as a single issue or a six-issue subscription.

    In the News

    Authentic Latino Foods Deliver Fresh Flavors in a Lighter Form

    New York, March 18, 2009 - A new generation of authentic Latino foods is emphasizing pure ingredients, vivid flavors and lighter recipes, according to Latino Foods: The Next Wave Culinary Trend Mapping Report by the Center for Culinary Development (CCD) and Packaged Facts. In contrast to heavier, higher-fat Tex-Mex fare now integrated into American eating, emerging food trends from the Caribbean and Central and South America point to foods altogether more healthful and flavorful.

    Driving the wave. Multiple drivers are propelling this new wave of Latino food forward in the U.S., beyond the growing and diverse Latino population now at roughly 15%, which is projected to rise to 25% by 2050. While Latinos seek to connect to their heritage through these regional foods, other Americans look to authentic recipes in an increased desire for original and fresh flavor.

    “Just as Pan-Asian foods have brought new flavor and ingredient excitement to the American plate and palate, now it’s time to make way for Pan-Latin,” says Kimberly Egan, CEO of CCD.

    New ingredients from diverse sources. The Mexican herb epazote, Yucatecan sour Seville oranges and mild Peruvian aji amarillo chiles are now flavoring restaurant fare and gourmet recipes. Mexican cheese and soft corn tortillas are transforming taco night into something more culturally authentic.

    Authentically healthful. This authenticity is also naturally healthier. The everyday foods of Latin America don’t relay as much on fat and instead use fresh ingredients for flavor. Think ultra-fresh tableside guacamole or lime-kissed rotisserie chicken. Olive-oil based Puerto Rican sofrito is the foundation of myriad regional dishes.

    Which of these will follow the mojito and evolve into a popular flavor profile. Saville orange gum, anyone?

    The Culinary Trend Mapping Report is co-published by the Center for Culinary Development and Packaged Facts.

    About Packaged Facts - Packaged Facts publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer industries, including consumer goods and retailing, foods and beverages, demographics, pet and financial products. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services.

    About the Center for Culinary Development - CCD is a full-service food and beverage development and research company that blends culinary creativity with strategic marketing expertise for successful product innovation.


  • Executive Summary
    Why Latino Foods: The Next Wave - Kimberly Egan
    Executive Summary

    Trend Summary
    Stage 1 - New Sources of Sabor:
    • Epazote
    • Seville Oranges
    • Aji Amarillo Chiles
    - Sofrito
    Stage 2 - Latin American Rotisserie Chicken
    - Where Are They Now?: Pupusas
    Stage 3 - Mexican Cheeses
    - Tableside Guacamole
    Stage 4 - Soft Corn Tortilla Tacos
    Stage 5 - Mojito Flavor

    Chef Speak: CCD Chefs’ Council® Voices
    James Schenk: An edible revolution requires a strategy

    Strategic Implications
    Opportunities for next-wave Latino foods

    Source List

    Download our eBook: How to Succeed Using Market Research

    Learn how to effectively navigate the market research process to help guide your organization on the journey to success.

    Download eBook

    Share this report