Explore African Flavors

November 2016

Experiencing different parts of the world doesn’t always involve travel. Today, diners are branching out from familiar favorites. They’re seeking ethnic foods—the more authentic, the better. With bold flavors and an innate health factor, African food is poised to be the next “it” cuisine.

Many African dishes are made with produce, nuts, grains and flavorful seasonings, such as turmeric—a spice with superfood benefits. Other popular ingredients in African dishes include:

  • Piri piri: A sauce made from spicy African peppers, often used on chicken. Nando’s, a fast-casual chain with locations in more than 28 countries, is known for its flame-grilled chicken with piri piri sauce.
  • Berbere: A spice blend made from a base of chili peppers, fenugreek seeds and ginger, often altered based on chefs’ preferences or family recipes. It’s a must-have for most Ethiopian dishes.
  • Harissa: This condiment/seasoning is a signature ingredient in North African foods. Spicy and aromatic, it’s usually made from a combination of chili peppers, garlic, olive oil, cumin, coriander, caraway and more.

Use these African ingredients to explore the up-and-coming food trend—from authentic dishes to recipes with an ethnic-inspired twist for less adventurous diners. Browse our Resource Center to stay up to date with what’s trending in foodservice.


Parsons, Rhea. How to Cook Veggies Using the Most Authentic African Flavors, One Green Planet, January 2016.

Berry, Donna. Flavor Trends Venture All Over the Map, Food Business News, February 2016.

Glazer, Fern. African Food Takes the Slow Road to Trendiness, Nation’s Restaurant News, August 2016.

The Ingredient Hot List: Culinary, FONA, August 2016.

Nunes, Keith. Tracking flavor trends at I.F.T.16, Food Business News, August 2016.

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