Menu Innovation and Development Awards, Miami – Trends and Insights

Earlier this year, Nicola Mills – our Marketing Director of Billington Foods – visited Miami  as part of the Midas Network. This year over 100 industry operators and suppliers from the foodservice sector attended the trip, to gather insights on the latest food trends for us to incorporate into our product development and customer presentations. 

Staying on top of the latest and upcoming trends ensures we are always able to offer new and innovative products to our customers, in line with what shoppers and diners are looking for. The insights we gather informs our development chefs and product development teams, placing them at the forefront of new and emerging flavours.

Here’s an overview of what Nicola took away from the insight trip

New flavour inspiration 



As a melting pot of cultures, Miami is home to a wide range of cuisines, though two with a clear influence were Cuban and Mexican. 

Packed full of flavour and variety, options such as tacos with an array of fillings proved incredibly popular. As was the Cuban Sandwich, which is essentially a cheese and ham sandwich on another level; elevated by the use of both cooked ham and slow roasted pork marinated in orange juice, lime juice, garlic, oregano, and cumin, then topped with swiss cheese, pickles and mustard.   

Different types of harissa – red, green and black – made using a variety of chillies and spices also proved popular, adding a real depth of flavour to dishes such as ribeye steak, grilled yellowtail and smoked scallops. With new flavour profiles on offer, we can see this taking off in the UK both in home cooking and out-of-home dining.  

Another key ingredient used across an array of menus was golden beetroot. Sweeter than the humble red beetroot we’re used to, it was the star of the show in a range of starters and salads, with use of this sunshine-yellow ingredient up 33% year on year.

Sauces add sparkle 



To add an extra level of flavour to almost every dish, innovative sauces using a variety of flavour combinations proved incredibly popular. Influenced by a variety of cuisines, we saw: 

  • Pineapple salsa
  • Sriracha maple syrup 
  • Sesame chilli ponzu 
  • Plum ketchup
  • Pico de Mango 

And more! Though the clear winners were ​​Red Chilli Caramel, and Beer Cheese & Honey Mustard – which were both absolutely delicious.

An easy way to modernise a menu and add some wow factor to a dish, sauces are a great way of innovating your offering. Our team of experts are pros at making delicious bespoke sauces for a range of applications across the UK’s Foodservice, Retail & B2B markets. Get in touch to find out more. 

Say ‘no’ to boring salads 

Sauces weren’t the only thing seeing new levels of innovation and development. Vinaigrettes, butters and aiolis in all sorts of flavours were used to elevate salads and small plates. 

Salads were enriched with vinaigrettes containing ingredients such as champagne, lemon & grana padano, and soy. 

While small plates were served with an array of infused butters, such as miso, honey and mango & lime. Others were paired with flavoured aiolis, ranging from saffron and honey, to sriracha and truffle. 

We expect to see new flavour profiles modernising classic salads and popular side dishes here in the UK, adding a new edge to dishes and deepening their flavour. 

Don’t forget about dessert! 


New and innovative sweet treats were also on the menu over in Miami, with almost 40% of people finding globally inspired desserts appealing. 

As such, dishes such as Haupia – a traditional Hawaiian coconut-milk based dessert – in the form of chocolate tarts and pies were popular. 

Popcorn was used as a topping across a wide variety of desserts (as well as some savoury dishes), most notably on ice cream sundaes, cakes, pies and milkshakes. This is down to 41% of consumers finding sweet and salty combinations appealing. 

Overall, it was a brilliant trip filled with interesting insights and lots of tasty food. Our teams are now looking at how to incorporate the learnings into their new menus and product offerings, ensuring our customers are at the forefront of flavour innovations and the latest food trends. 

*US stats taken from Technomic’s US Trends Review

For more on our ranges, new products and trend reports, check out our news and press pages.