The Sauce Source
April 2016
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The Sauce Source from Paradise

RCA Conference – Top Trends

Allison Rittman, Paradise’s Corporate Research Chef, recently attended the Research Chef’s Association (RCA) annual conference. Here’s her take on three big trends that got the spotlight; they are also becoming menu sensations and hitting retail shelves.
Ethnic Flavors

Veggie Focused

“We’re not talking vegetarian but it’s more about making the vegetable the star,” explains Chef Allison.

Move over kale. Cauliflower, beets and root vegetables are getting attention. Creative chefs are also using the whole vegetable. What used to go in the compost heap is now fermented, roasted or smoked and used in other dishes.

We are also seeing spiralized vegetables known as “zoodles” made with butternut squash, turnips, beets and zucchini. And carrot stir fry and veggie bowls are taking center plate, often replacing a meat.

Now “steaks” of roasted cauliflower or butternut squash are standing in for rib-eyes. And new on the radar is Jackfruit, a perfect example of a meat replacement, appearing in BBQ sandwiches, tacos and more.

Chef Allison’s Inspiration for the Menu & Grocery Shelves:

  1. Charred Cauliflower Bites with Chermoula-Avocado Dipping Sauce
  2. Cascabel Jackfruit Tacos with Pickled Onions
  3. Zucchini Squash Noodles tossed with Fire Roasted Vegetable Sauce
Regional BBQ

Ethnic Shift

“Consumers are still being introduced to new cuisines like Fillipino and Peruvian,” says Chef Allison. “But chefs are also exploring some old favorites, both with authentic and new inspirational flavors, specifically Asian and French cuisines.”

Today, bowls are the new plates and noodle bowls are the new Asian. Noodle bowls meet consumers’ demand for ethnic, full of flavor and customizable items. Based on both street fare and comfort classics, noodle bowls can include Asian noodles made from rice, wheat and egg, or buckwheat. Other additions include a variety of vegetables, protein and a flavor-packed sauce that ties it all together.

According to Campbell’s Culinary Trendscape 2016, “French Classics is a refreshing take on comfort food. This time around, the genre is more about elevated simplicity and tasty traditions. French onion soup, cassoulet, coq au vin, open-faced tartines, quiche and creative confits are just a few of the savory classics getting attention.” Let’s not forget the French pastries too.

Chef Allison’s Inspiration for the Menu & Grocery Shelves:

  1. Ramen Tonkotsu with a Spicy Habanero Garlic “Bomb Sauce” Topper
  2. Cascabel Chicken Cassoulet
  3. Grilled Veggie Bowl with Pork Adobo Rice
Regional BBQ


“It’s all about making food taste good and people feeling good about eating it,” explains Chef Allison. “Clean labels, government influence and redefining natural are all having a big impact on new products.”

According to Technomic, 40% of consumers are more concerned about additives in their food now more than they were two years ago. Transparency is important too - nearly nine out of 10 consumers would like restaurants to be more transparent about what’s in their food.

Restaurants and manufacturers are listening. “Clean” and “free from” offerings and descriptors are on the rise to address food integrity. Additive-free, antibiotic-free, no artificial flavors or preservatives, no synthetic colors, non-GMO, all-natural meats and cheeses – all are good ways to convey the “Keep it Simple, Keep it Clean” trend.

Chef Allison’s Inspiration for the Menu & Grocery Shelves:

  1. Grass Fed Flat Iron Steak with Charred Tomato Salsa
  2. Grilled Shrimp in a Quinoa Taco Shell Tossed with Mango Habanero Sauce
  3. Farmers Market Pizza with Roasted Butternut Squash, a Spicy Ancho Sauce
    Swirl with Whole Milk Mozzarella

For a more in-depth look at these trends and others, check out Campbell’s Culinary Trendscape 2016, which was presented at the 2016 RCA conference.  Click here.

And for more ideas on how to incorporate these trends into your new product pipeline, contact Chef Allison at

Grilled Korean Gochujang Wings
Grilled Korean Gochujang Wings
Add a little spice to your wings with these Korean-inspired chicken wings, featuring grilled chicken wings tossed with Paradise Gochujang Sauce

2 pounds Chicken Wings, cut at joint to separate into drumettes and midsections, discarding wing tips

1 oz. Vegetable Oil

8 oz. Paradise Gochujang Sauce


Heat outdoor grill to medium high / 400°F.

Toss wings with vegetable oil to coat evenly. Place the wings on preheated grill and cover the grill.

Cook, flipping the wings occasionally with tongs, until the skin is crisp and chicken is cooked throughout, about 15 minutes.

Toss hot wings with Paradise Gochujang Sauce. Serve immediately.

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