About the author: Tricia Contreras | SmartBlogs

Tricia Contreras Tricia Contreras edits food, beverage and CPG briefs and manages SmartBlog on Food & Beverage. A former intern and writer at SmartBrief, she graduated from the Philip Merrill School of Journalism at the University of Maryland in College Park. You can follow her on Twitter @SB_Food.

Global foods and flavors are captivating American palates and chefs’ imaginations, making a strong showing on menus and grocery store shelves. Eight in 10 consumers now eat least one ethnic cuisine a month and 66% of consumers eat a wider variety of ethnic cuisines now than five years ago, according to a 2015 survey from the National Restaurant Association.[…] Continue Reading »

News about consumers’ top-ranked restaurant chains held the attention of SmartBrief’s food and beverage readers this week. Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza, Firehouse Subs and Bonefish Grill came out on top in terms of food quality, according to Technomic’s 2016 Consumers’ Choice Awards for Chain Restaurants, and Cracker Barrel won the title of most popular casual chain in a Market Force survey.[…] Continue Reading »

Vegetables continued to take over more menu categories and replace meat at some meals for a growing number of consumers this year, and the trend is predicted to grow even bigger in 2016.

Rising interest in healthy eating, the movement towards local foods and a growing acceptance of meals that don’t center around animal protein are all driving vegetables’ prominence and popularity.[…] Continue Reading »

Sweet, salty and spicy flavors have been captivating consumers for years, but a new taste is carving out a space on menus and supermarket shelves. The rise of bitter flavors began in earnest this year as consumers’ continued love of kale, Brussels sprouts and bitter IPAs carried over into an appreciation for black coffee, cocktail bitters and charred foods.[…] Continue Reading »

It may have started with sriracha, but the demand for hot and spicy flavors in restaurants and supermarkets continues to grow as consumers demand more heat from a wider variety of sources. Chili peppers and spices from cayenne to cinnamon are bringing the heat to a range of foods and beverages, including main courses, snacks and even alcohol.[…] Continue Reading »