How to Capitalize on 3 Consumer Trends for Summertime

May 2024

How to Capitalize on 3 Consumer Trends for Summertime

Staying on top of the latest consumer preferences is crucial for menu development and driving traffic. Learn more about three top trends and how to make the most of them on your menu in preparation for summer.


1. Heat it Up
Consumers still like it hot, but lately, they’re looking for more multi-dimensional and nuanced experiences beyond tongue-searing heat. Global cuisines like Indian and West African are surging as diners chase higher and more complex spice levels. It’s easy for operators of all kinds to meet demand with this Spice Orange Turkey Fried Rice, featuring turkey thigh roast, sriracha and savory Kikkoman sauces.


Diners want dishes that incorporate different chilies and peppers, as well as foods that combine heat with other flavors. Starbucks is taking this to the beverage sector, with the introduction of their Spicy Lemonades, pairing a proprietary spice blend with sweet fruit and zesty citrus flavors. Consumers are also getting their spice fix in the comfort of their own homes thanks to meal delivery service Hello Fresh. Its plans feature recipes that combine sweet and spicy, like their Hot Honey Turkey with BBQ-Spiced Roasted Potatoes.


2. Satisfy Summer Snacking
Snacking occasions are booming, up 12 points since 2017 for households with children under 12. As this younger generation ages, small plate options will be key for drawing in profitable snackers. Even now, operators can introduce these young consumers to new foods by offering unique side options paired with familiar dishes. For example, serve adventurous dipping sauces for chicken tender or turkey sliders.


Both kids and adults are embracing the social aspect of shareable foods. Offering many different types of snacks is likely to create a “grammable” spread that diners will love to share on their social accounts. Restaurants like First Watch in Nashville are capitalizing on this trend with menu items that feature small bites or sips of a variety of foods, including brunch boards and cocktail flights for sampling.


3. Fill Plates With Street Food
Diners enjoy the approachability, portability and casual nature of street food from various cuisines. Younger generations especially love authentic street foods, as seen with the boom of elote, or Mexican street corn. From Cheetos to Pringles, many snack brands jumped on this trend with limited-edition street corn flavors.


Menuing dishes and flavors inspired by popular street food items has the potential to distinguish your operation and attract younger consumers. Try these Mexican-inspired Turkey Chorizo Street Tacos featuring pickled red onions, queso fresco and seasoned ground turkey for a portable summer snack or meal offering.


Keep in step with these top trends by experimenting with interesting flavor combinations, shareable formats and looking to a variety of global cuisines to drum up excitement for your diners. How will you incorporate them at your operation? Share your thoughts on our Facebook or LinkedIn pages, and visit our Resource Center for more tips and trends.


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