Surprise and delight with every dish

Author: Smithfield Culinary

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Bacon, ham, sausage and other delicious pork products have traditionally made for irresistible entrees. But they can be used for virtually every part of the meal, including enhancing appetizers, sides and the best part: desserts. Rethink your application and revitalize your menu.

Sweet and Savory: The Rise of the Flavor Twist

Though savory and sweet flavor profiles are very on trend for 2023, the popularity of this pairing has been building for years – maybe decades. There is a general skew toward a more savory palate among American consumers with the proliferation of sour, bitter and umami flavors. An offshoot of that is the sweet/spicy trend, which started, perhaps intuitively, in the dessert and sweets category. This year, Mintel reports a +138% increase in spicy flavors on bakery menus. However, consumers are now embracing the flavor combination across all categories.

Sweets and Meats

  • Glazes and marinades are great examples of the sweet/savory profile, with ingredients such as honey, brown sugar and maple syrup being used to enhance ham, bacon and other proteins.
  • There is increased interest in, and deeper exploration of, internationally and domestically inspired barbecue sauces, which combine sweet and savory elements.
  • Meats are also being used in traditionally sweet formats, as seen with bacon jam, an increasingly popular sweet, smoky and salty condiment.1

International Flavor Complexity

  • Complex sauces, spice blends and condiments have been found in cuisines from around the world, including Japanese, Indian and Middle Eastern, to name a few.
  • These flavors have found their way through various applications to elevate everything from drinks to desserts.
  • Korean BBQ sauces and Thai chile sauces are two examples of these now-mainstream flavors that inspire operators to create unique craveable dishes.1

Compound Flavors

  • The complexity of contrasting and unlikely flavors is key in creating a memorable dining experience. Examples are hot honey, salted caramel and smoked maple syrup. In Spoonshot’s Trends 2023 and Beyond report, consumer interest in “complex heat” that incorporates sweet as well as spicy grew by +21% in the past 12 months ending July 2022.
  • Flavor combinations that have seen growth:
    • Swalty (sweet + salty)
    • Swoky (sweet + smoky)
    • Swicy (sweet + spicy)
    • Swour (sweet + sour)

The benefit of these more complex sweet profiles is that they transcend and move well beyond desserts and baked goods.1

1 Menu Matters, 2022, by Maeve Webster


Heat Things Up with Smithfield Culinary.

Smithfield Culinary is here to help you take it up a notch. Our passion for all things protein makes us the perfect partner to share with you the latest innovations and trends that will keep your business ahead of the game. From the blank canvas of fresh pork to fully cooked products such as ham, smoked sausage, pulled pork, chicken and beef, we’ve got you covered. Contact your Smithfield Culinary representative by calling 888-327-6526 or by visiting