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20 Mar, 2023



The Food On Everyone’s Lips

BBQ lovers come in all shapes, sizes, and demographics. In fact, 94% of consumers confess that they’re into it.1 And, lucky for them, the types of BBQ they can find on menus keeps growing. From grilled, smoked, and charred to slow-roasted and open-pit cooked, BBQ is popping up on more and more menus. Smoked meat sandwiches continues to trend, burnt ends have grown 45% on menus over the last four years, pork is on 96% of BBQ restaurant menus, and the brisket sandwich is up 10% on menus over the past four years.2

Origins of BBQ

So, where did this fascination with BBQ get started? According to Smithsonian Magazine, what America knows as BBQ is “a Caribbean cooking style brought north by Spanish conquistadors, moved westward by settlers, and seasoned with the flavors of European cultures.”1 Though BBQ started as a simple method for cooking meat low and slow over an indirect flame, once Americans got a hold of the concept, they haven’t stopped innovating.

A BBQ Party in the USA

BBQ styles continue to expand, but there are four main American styles for creating smoked and cured meats. Texas style is biggest and shows up on 46.8% of restaurant menus, Carolina is on 33.5% of menus, Memphis is on 27.2% of menus, and Kansas City is on 7% of menus. But that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. There are then four distinct styles in Texas alone, and a total of 14 styles across the U.S.!3  Americans can’t get enough BBQ, whether they’re enjoying it with friends and family at home, attending competitions, watching cooking shows and videos on social media, or grabbing the latest cookbook. While it’s a hobby for some, it’s an obsession for others!

Now Trending

BBQ knows no borders, and right now global styles and flavors are getting a big thumbs up from consumers. Korean BBQ is a fan favorite with 56% of consumers who’ve tried it saying they like or love it. Other global styles and the percentage of consumers interested in them include Jamaican Jerk (49%) , Argentinian Asado (38%), Japanese Yakitori (37%), Indian Tandoori (35%), South African Braai (29%), Philippine Lechón (24%) and Chinese Chuan’r (24%).1

Authentic BBQ is Within Reach

It’s clear by now that everyone loves BBQ and it’s on menus everywhere, but that doesn’t mean it’s without challenges. For operators lacking the proper equipment and staff expertise, it’s difficult and can feel impossible to offer low-and-slow cooked meats on everyday menus. These operators still have options to compete in this arena though. They can partner with suppliers who provide BBQ expertise and deliver right to their back door. The key is to look for one who stays true to old-world basics, offers consistent products that can be customized, and provides signature flavors to your customers.

Howdy, Partner

If you’re looking for a partner to get you in the BBQ game, help is here. With NSP, you don’t have to be a BBQ pro to offer professional-style BBQ. Ensure your position in this growing category by teaming up with the experts at NSP. We create old-world-style smoked and cured meats in every style from regional American to trending global flavors. We still hand rub spices and cook with hardwood smoke for beef or pork burnt ends, pulled pork, brisket, ribs, corned beef, and more. Talk to your NSP rep today or call 918.274.8787 to see how we can get you up and running with this exciting opportunity.


1 Datassential Trendspotting – The Next Generation of BBQ – 9/22
2 Q1 2023 Datassential
3 Datassential MenuTrends, Q4 2022
5 Next Gen BBQ Operators, Datassential Trendspotting – 9/22

AMERICAN BBQ: A LOVE STORY2023-03-17T15:42:49-05:00
22 Apr, 2022

The Top Flavors Preferred By Today’s Diners


It’s no secret that Italian, Mexican, and Chinese flavors have led ethnic cuisine in the USA for decades. Now global cravings are shifting to largely Asian and Latin influences with younger generations. That’s not to say that Italian is going away. In fact, 82% of diners say they love or like it, and pizza has carried menus over the last two years. It does mean that operators need to get creative with efforts to differentiate their menus and tap into more regional flavors.

Let’s unpack the shifts by looking at generational preferences. Millennials are the first generation to say they prefer Mexican over Italian, and the numbers are shifting even more with Gen Z. When asked what one cuisine they could eat for the rest of their lives, Gen Z chose Latin/Mexican most often. In fact, half of the cravings that skew Gen Z are Latin- or Asian-inspired.

Secondly, let’s consider the shift in collective palate due to diversity in the USA. The Hispanic population has quadrupled in the past four decades. Now Latinos account for over half of the country’s population growth. In addition, the Asian population is the fastest growing ethnic group—up 35.5% over the past 10 years.

Thirdly, we can’t discount the prevalence of food savviness. It’s the new norm and a big factor in influencing global tastes. Gen Z enjoys boba, mochi, ramen, bubble tea, pho, churros, dragon fruit, Thai rolled ice cream, and more international favorites. They view the regional nuances of these items as commonplace and simply consider them as “food” options instead of “ethnic cuisine” as generations before them have. This extends to accepting popular dishes like bowls, tacos, pizza, nachos, and satays updated with Asian and Latin flavors.

What does this mean to you as a foodservice operator? The short answer is it’s time to shift menus to keep up with demand. But we can’t ignore challenges that impact restaurants overall. Labor shortages continue to be a fact of life so looking for low-prep options is key. Another consideration is that consumer preferences are always evolving. So starting small with fusion is fine. For example, expanding pizza or taco offerings to Thai chicken pizza or Korean beef tacos could be a step in the right direction.

The opportunity for operators who already specialize in Latin and Asian cuisines is to cement their places early, but competition will grow more fierce so continued innovation will help set them apart. Those who are not currently offering Latin or Asian fare, need to expand to include some global-directed dishes. Tacos, bowls, and pizza are great places to start for bases that can skew Latin, Asian, or Italian.

NSP can help! Count on us for easy-prep proteins that feature the ethnic flavors customers crave. Talk to your NSP rep today or call 918.274.8787 for help assessing your unique situation and what opportunities we can offer through innovative products and processes.

The Top Flavors Preferred By Today’s Diners2022-04-22T10:19:13-05:00
11 Feb, 2022

Foodservice in the time of COVID-19… and beyond.


As we all face a third year of the pandemic, few can deny the impact COVID-19 has had on nearly every aspect of society. Foodservice was particularly hard hit. In 2020 and 2021, operators went into survival mode in the face of variants, government restrictions, inflation, supply issues, and worker shortages. Now, in 2022, many are beginning to take a look at what lies ahead in the wake of changes in consumer dining behaviors and the long-term implications they hold.

Other major global events like the World Wars and the Great Depression proved to permanently alter the mindset of whole generations. They also led to innovations in what we eat that are still with us today. Many social commentators are now comparing Millennials to the Depression-era generation as both groups endured events that impacted housing, habits, income, spending, and more. In fact, 83% of modern-day consumers think the pandemic has changed their lifestyles forever.*

As these consumers ate out less often, many improved their cooking skills and started gardening to create their own food supply and live more frugally. In addition, working from home has allowed them more time to cook and enjoy meals in. That’s not to say foodservice doesn’t have a big opportunity to navigate and adjust to better suit post-pandemic life. With 75% of consumers saying they’re looking forward to new food and beverage trends in 2022,* now is the time for operators to embrace change and thrive.

Going forward, third-party delivery, pick up, and drive through options that operators offered to survive will remain key as consumers are now used to these conveniences. Quality is something to keep in check with these approaches though, as not all foods travel well. In addition, offering consistently trend-right dishes at good prices is important… even with continuing staffing challenges.

A partner like NSP can help! We have our finger on the pulse of what’s new and emerging in foodservice and can help save labor with fully cooked or speed scratch items, all while thrilling guests with the flavors they’re craving most. Talk to your NSP rep today or call 918-274-8787 for help assessing your unique situation and what opportunities we can offer through innovative products and processes.

*Datassential 2022 Annual Trend Report

Foodservice in the time of COVID-19… and beyond.2022-04-22T10:17:44-05:00


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