International spreads

Sauces and condiments also provide an approachable avenue for consumers to try new flavors. Twenty-two percent of US diners said they would be motivated to try an unfamiliar flavor if it is paired with a familiar format, Mintel said, and 28 percent of condiment shoppers said international varieties help them experiment with new cuisines.

Consumers are interested in seeing more international sauces and condiments in foods, Mintel said. Forty-nine percent said they would like to see more Indian flavors, 33 percent Middle Eastern flavors and 25 percent African flavors.

To appease those seeking Indian cuisine, restaurants may use Achaar. This Indian condiment is made by blending various pickled vegetables, spices and oils. Brooklyn Delhi embraces the flavor in its Tomato Achaar, a tomato relish made from local vegetables, fruits, spices and oil.

For consumers craving Middle Eastern cuisine, Muhammara or Toum may add international flair to a dish. Muhammara is a hot pepper dip common in Syrian and Turkish fare that combines peppers, walnuts, oil, breadcrumbs, lemon and various spices. Toum is a creamy dipping sauce popular in Lebanese cuisine that features salt, lemon juice, oil and garlic.

“As an appetizer, a dip or spread is shared among friends, meaning each diner signs up for just a taste of the dish – a low-risk proposition,” Mintel said. “A sauce or condiment served on a sandwich or with a protein, meanwhile, takes a familiar dish and adds a bit of interest, giving diners confidence in trying something new. It may not be surprising, then, that a range of international flavors, including those of the Middle East and Africa, have found their way into consumers' consciousnesses through their inclusion in dips, spreads, and sauces.”