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How to create crowd-pleasing food mashups

If you are wondering what a mashup is, the idea is simple! It’s what happens when you combine two different dishes, cuisines, or dayparts into a single menu item.

Tapping into the mashup trend could be a great way to expand your offering, especially since unusual combos are very popular right now.1 Plus, 75% of consumers say they enjoy experimenting with flavours from different countries and cultures, which can play an interesting role in your mashups.2

“Flavour mashup” is the most popular flavour of the year.3 To revamp your menu without having to create entirely new recipes, all you need to do is mash signature dishes together!

3 Characteristics of a Craveable Mashup

  • Relatable: While food mashups are an opportunity for consumers to try something new, these types of dishes should be easily recognizable by anyone. For example, burgers, sandwiches, and pizzas are immediately familiar to the average diner, making them a great foundation for experimentation.

  • Texture: Playing with texture is just as important as experimenting with flavour, and cheese is great for pushing the envelope. Customers will love the creaminess of goat cheese against the squeakiness of cheese curds, as seen in this jicama poutine inspiration, which is a mashup of Mexican and Canadian cuisines!

  • Aesthetically pleasing: Not only should your mashup look appetizing, but it should also feel approachable instead of risky. 

 


In terms of flavour, combine profiles that might seem different at first but are actually complementary, like this Caesar cocktail inspiration based on a Caprese salad. Cocktail Bocconcini cheese can make fun skewers with a fresh Italian touch elevating this classic drink!


Types of mashups

Feel free to experiment with your mashups to repurpose ingredients you already have on hand!

Daypart Duos

This category mixes dishes that are traditionally attached to specific times of the day. The demand for mashup items such as trendy breakfast pizzas is continuously growing.4 This pizza inspiration blends traditionally breakfast-centric ingredients (such as eggs and hollandaise sauce) with a dish that’s commonly enjoyed during lunch or dinner! What’s even better is that you can serve the dish all day long, facilitating your kitchen logistics!

Diverse Dishes 

Start with the foundation of one popular menu item, then add a twist with flavours and textures from another. This nacho burger inspiration combines a classic burger format with chips and toppings from a nacho plate!

Cuisine Combos

While “fusion cuisine” used to be a common term, the lexicon has now shifted to “global cuisine,” which is practised around the globe but still has characteristics associated with a region, a country or a culture. It’s a particular kind of mashup, of which this butter chicken poutine inspiration is a great example!

Choosing the Right Cheese for Your Mashup

Given that cheese is one of customers’ most craved flavours,5 including it in mashup dishes is an easy way to win them over. Check out Chef Brown’s take on mashup menu items and discover new ways to elevate your menu!

Ricotta or Mascarpone cheese are great options to add a little international flair to your recipes. While the latter is often used in desserts, they are both perfect for saucy dishes inspired by Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines. Mascarpone cheese certainly brings freshness and creaminess to this Lebanese dip inspiration, while highlighting its versatility!

With their milky flavour, fresh cheeses work very well with a wide range of global cuisines. Use them to add texture without having to worry about clashing with strong flavours and spices, like this Korean pizza inspiration with Mozzarina di Bufala cheese.

Firm, aged cheeses generally pair nicely with sweet and sharp flavours such as candied fruits and high sugar vegetables. The delicate finishing touch of shaved Parmesan cheese can bring a surprising twist to well-known dishes like this Pizza Poutine for a show-stopping menu item!

Tell Your Mashup’s Story

Did you know that 51% of consumers are willing to try an unfamiliar ingredient if they understand why it was used in a meal?6 Make sure your customers know exactly why certain aspects have been mashed up—like why a particular cheese was used and what it can offer to the dish in terms of flavour, contrast, and balance. Your menu, your online ordering system and social media are great avenues for sharing these types of insights!

The best part about mashups is that you could easily combine dishes and ingredients you already have on hand, so take a look around your kitchen and start creating something delicious!

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1-2 Technomic, Canadian May 2020 Omnibus consumer survey data, 2020
Innova Market Insights, Top Ten Flavour Trends for 2021, 2021
Doordash, Menu Trends in 2020, 2020
5 Technomic, Canadian May 2020 Omnibus consumer survey data, 2020
6 GlobalData, Global consumer survey, Q3 2016

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