As interest in global cuisine grows, so does the spotlight on Italian food—but it’s more than just pepperoni pizza and spaghetti with meatballs that consumers want to see. To support these trends, SupHerb Farms released a white paper, “Trending Now: The ‘New’ Italian,” which spotlights ingredients and techniques that take classic Italian dishes to new heights.
Italian cuisine ranks slightly below Mexican and Chinese as an American favorite, with 68 percent of consumers noting they order Italian at restaurants at least occasionally, according to a 2017 Technomic, Inc. survey. Almost half, though, say they seek out specific regional Italian cuisines, such as Tuscan from Northern Italy or Sicilian from Southern Italy. In the North, Italian cuisine is based on butter, rice, gnocchi, Parmesan cheese and beef and veal for proteins. In the South, consumers are more likely to see dishes revolving around the use of olive oil, dried pasta, Buffalo mozzarella and lamb, fish or pork.
“Trending Now: The ‘New’ Italian” also offers helpful tips on creating fresh sauces, as well as looks at trends surrounding veggies, herbs and veggie/herb condiments. Marinara, pesto and Alfredo are three of the top 10 sauces on menus, but consumers are interested in trying new varieties. For example, 74 percent note an interest in trying Checca, a blend of uncooked tomato sauce, basil, mozzarella, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, that hails from Naples, while 72 percent are intrigued by Salmoriglio, a Sicilian sauce of lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, chopped oregano, parsley, salt and pepper.
Chefs can create nontraditional preparations of classic dishes that consumers crave. For example, pair Alfredo sauce with sriracha or try aji pepper pesto for mellow heat and unexpected color.
To learn more about regional Italian cuisines and glean inspiration from their varied flavor profiles, visit the SupHerb Farms online Knowledge Center.