Posted: September 23, 2020
Author: Becca Henrickson, Marketing Manager

Fire-related culinary cues are heating up retail and menu innovation, providing depth of flavor and marketability to the modern day “foodie.”

Sautéed Shrimp with Blistered Sweet Tomatoes. Courtesy of Cooper’s Hawk.

On menus, the culinary cue “blistered” increased in menu incidence by 94% from Q1 2017 – Q1 20201. This is primarily utilized to describe the preparation of vegetables, whether it’s blistered tomatoes in Cooper’s Hawk Sautéed Shrimp with Blistered Sweet Tomatoes, or blistered poblanos as we see in the Goat Cheese Queso Fundido from Mesa Grill. More commonly, fire-related cues like “charred” and “fire roasted” are used to describe preparation method, which have also increased in menu incidence in recent years.

Kroger Private Selection Smokehouse Charred Ends BBQ Sauce. Courtesy of Mintel

In retail, there is a significant rise in the term “fire roasted” on pack, increasing in new product launch activity 58.8% from Q1 2018 – Q1 20202. While not as prevalent, we are also seeing a rise in the culinary cue “char” or “charred” as well in new product launches. The Kroger Private Selection brand showcases this trend best in their Smokehouse Charred Ends BBQ Sauce that launched in June 2020. Another retail insight shows “blistered” does not appear on pack in any recent product development. This provides a white space for targeting consumers who are seeing the trend on menu.

Fire-related culinary cues offer ample opportunity for future product development and menu creation when trying to impart a smoky depth of flavor, or increase the perception of quality on a product.

1 Mintel Menu Insights, accessed September 15, 2020.

2 Mintel GNPD, accessed September 15, 2020