Trend Outlook: Middle Eastern, North African and Balkan Cuisines

Learn more about current trends in Middle Eastern, North African and Balkan Cuisines brought to you in whitepaper published by Technomic and SupHerb Farms.


Like in other global regions, the cuisines of the Middle East, North Africa and the Balkans are diverse with a degree of homogeneity. Cereals like bulgur and couscous, vegetables and pulses, herbs and spices, and grilled meats and stews are all staples in the region. But each region—and each country within the greater area—has its own specialties, preparation techniques and influences.

More than a third of consumers (35%)—and almost half of Gen Zers (47%) and Millennials (46%)—would like to see more Middle Eastern and North African influences on restaurant menus. About a quarter of consumers (24%)—and 41% of Gen Zers and 37% of Millennials—seek out different regional Middle Eastern and North African cuisine experiences, such as Tunisian and Yemeni, while only 19% (including 30% of Gen Zers and 29% of Millennials) know the culinary differences among the various countries of the Middle East and North Africa.

Slightly fewer consumers—but still a noteworthy amount—would like to see more Balkan influences on restaurant menus, with 21% of consumers agreeing, including 31% of Gen Zers and Millennials. Some 16% of consumers seek out different regional Balkan cuisine experiences (e.g., Albanian, Bulgarian, etc.), and the same percentage of consumers say they know the culinary differences among the numerous Balkan countries.

Despite the lower interest in Balkan cuisine compared to Middle Eastern and North African cuisines, additional research shows that a greater proportion of consumers are interested in trying specific Balkan countries’ cuisines (such as Bulgarian and Croatian) over gastronomies of Middle Eastern and North African countries. This implies that operators shouldn’t overlook Balkan cuisines as potential up-and-comers.

Consumer Opinion, Action and Knowledge on Middle Eastern/North African and Balkan Cuisines

I would like to see more Middle Eastern/North African or Balkan influences on restaurant menus.
I seek out different regional Middle Eastern/North African or Balkan cuisine experiences.
I know the culinary differences among the various countries of the Middle Eastern/North African or Balkans


Base: 1,000 consumers aged 18+ who purchase food or beverage 1 away from home on weekdays or weekends

To download the full whitepaper and learn more about trends in Middle Eastern, North African, and Balkan cuisines, click here.

For more information on SupHerb Farms’ global flavors, click here.

About Technomic
Technomic Inc., a Winsight company, delivers a 360-degree view of the food industry. It impacts growth and profitability for clients by providing consumer-grounded vision and channel-relevant strategic insights. Its services range from major research studies and management consulting solutions to online databases and simple fact-finding assignments. Its clients include food manufacturers and distributors, restaurants and retailers, other foodservice organizations, and various institutions aligned with the food industry. Visit Technomic at technomic.com.

About Winsight, LLC
Winsight LLC is a recognized leader in business-to-business media and information services for the convenience-retailing, foodservice and grocery industries. Winsight has an extensive media portfolio, including five publications: CSP, Restaurant BusinessFoodService DirectorConvenience Store Products, and Winsight Grocery Business. Winsight also offers a suite of digital products, including websites, e-newsletters, webinars, video products, mobile and tablet apps, and custom marketing solutions. In addition to more than 12 major EduNetworking conferences and advisory meetings, Winsight also produces seven exclusive, large-scale executive-level conferences: Restaurant Leadership Conference, Global Restaurant Leadership ConferenceOutlook Leadership Conference, Convenience Retailing University, FSTECMenuDirections and Restaurant Directions. In 2015, Winsight acquired Technomic Inc., a provider of primary and secondary market information and advisory services for the food industry. For more information on Winsight and its brands, go to www.winsightmedia.com.

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