Building a Better Bowl with Kikkoman

Photo: Kao Yuk Soy Braised Pork Belly Hash, recipe developed by Lien Lin of Bricolage in New York City.

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Whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner, bowls offer everything a modern-day Canadian consumer could want in a quick meal, making them an easy and adaptable option for any foodservice provider looking to diversify their menu.

Versatile and efficient, bowls are also the easiest way to deliver global, craveable flavours. Whether offering a build-your-own station or grab-and-go options, Kikkoman’s full line of ready-to-use sauces and bases make it a snap.

The popularity of bowls has been trending upwards since 2017, resulting in a booming market throughout North America and around the world. For example, poke has grown by more than 250 percent on Canadian dinner menus over the past four years, with dedicated eateries popping up across the country.

But as this trend grows, so too does competition for share of wallet. Datassential’s 2019 Millennial Keynote Report shows Gen Z and millennials are more likely than their older counterparts to experiment with new foods. In fact, more than 85 percent of Gen-Z consumers say they like trying new foods, while millennials are much more likely to love global flavours. So, the key to staying on top when it comes to bowls is offering more globally inspired flavours and experimenting with how to adapt them to fit your menu.

And it all starts with the sauce.

“The sauce is the secret for any Asian-style bowl,” says Andrew Hunter, corporate chef at Kikkoman Sales USA, Inc. “Kikkoman sauces not only provide the authentic flavours chefs are looking for when creating their signature dressings and marinades, they also save labour and time.”

Chef Lien Lin, chef/owner of Bricolage, a modern Vietnamese gastropub in New York, says she has grown up using Kikkoman Soy Sauce. “It has a great balance and layering of flavours that make it an easy-to-use ingredient for dipping sauces, salad dressings, marinades or stir-fry sauces. It works as-is or in cooking.”

Ramen, bibimbap and other Asian comfort foods are also gaining a top spot on menus, and a growing number of chefs are working with Kikkoman ponzu, teriyaki, poke, sriracha, Thai-style chili and sweet soy sauces to pump up the flavour and add a sweet or spicy kick.

It’s all part of the growing trend of consumer interest in ethnic offerings — much of which is being driven by the up-and-coming Gen Z generation. Technomic reports 59 percent of consumers are eating more unique types of ethnic foods than two years ago.

David Hopkins, president of The Fifteen Group Inc. in Toronto, says he’s seen a rise in diverse, global seasonings and spices incorporated into North-American menus in 2019. “We’ve noticed almost half of foodservice orders in Canada consist of ethnic food and flavours. Dishes from Asia and India continue to be the most popular, we have found, with North-American palates.”

Tapping into the foods and flavours of Asia and blending them with Western concepts offers your customers the perfect balance of familiarity and novelty. The resulting spicy and savoury flavours are sure to make your bowls stand out on the menu and increase their sales appeal.

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