Food Trend Spotlight: Global Mash-Ups

January 2024 

Consumers want many things out of a dining experience, and one enduring desire is to enjoy flavor while satisfying hunger. Many 2024 food trend reports (including IFT Magazine, Datassential, Restaurant Business and Time) identified global mash-ups as a way that chefs can play in this proverbial sandbox — creating “newstalgia” by elevating familiar classics with an updated flavor twist. According to the research firm Mintel, 38% of U.S. consumers like flavors that remind them of their childhood. [1] By leveraging a cuisine that consumers already love (like Mexican or Indian food) or a favorite format like burgers or pizza, that familiarity can be the means to simultaneously introduce a new, unique, or novel technique or flavor.  

Food mash-ups have long attracted consumers — in a recent Datassential survey, 59% of consumers who have tried a mash-up said they love or like them. [2] The key to creating fresh concepts that remain approachable to a wide range of consumers is to root the new ingredient or flavor profile in the familiar. A dish like dal would be a familiar concept to any consumer who frequents Indian restaurants or makes Indian food at home. A global mash-up could introduce dal to new audiences by using it in a familiar dish, like a loaded baked potato or a power bowl. Afraid this sounds too much like fusion cuisine? Don’t worry, the term once chastised for being inauthentic is today recognized in many ways for its ability to bridge food cultures and introduce consumers to exciting yet unfamiliar flavors according to Restaurant Business. [3] 

In their magazine Trendspotting, Datassential notes that some of the mashup cuisines with the most longevity, like British-Indian and American-Chinese, were those created by immigrants who put their own spin on familiar ingredients and flavors in their new homes, creating new cuisines that remain popular today — and a recipe for success in culinary innovation. [4] 

When consumers approach eating out as an opportunity to experiment, increasingly often they are looking to try more plant-forward cuisine. Over ¼ of the general population already limits meat in their diet, and more than half of the general population is open to plant-forward or flexitarian eating.[5] Lentils are an easy, reliable form of plant-based protein, with 12 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber per half-cup serving. That combination of protein and fiber creates satiety for consumers, fueling their nutrition needs and keeping them full for longer, while delivering on taste.  

James Bickmore-Hutt, corporate chef at, stresses that while you may need to educate your cooking staff when introducing new ingredients or techniques, lentils make the learning curve quite gradual.  

“Cooked lentils can perform similarly to as ground meat. You will see a similar toothsome texture in a whole lentil and when blended down into a puree or paste, split lentils offer the same smooth consistency as lean ground protein. From there, you can plug them in and play with many concepts. They can be used really simply in global yet familiar concepts like Takoraisu from Okinawa, the Mumbai street burrito “Frankie,” or the pizza-reminiscent Turkish Lahmacun,” says Chef Bickmore-Hutt. 

Explore our inspiration using safe experimentation in unique but approachable mash-ups: 


Global pizzas  

Global burgers  

Creative loaded potatoes

[1] IFT Food Technology magazine, Outlook 2024: Flavor Trends 
[2] Datassential’s Consumer Preferences Platform 
[3] Restaurant Business, State of the Plate  “Fusion is no longer a dirty word” Kruse, N. (2023, December 4) 
[4] Datassential Trendspotting 
[5] Datassential 2023 Plant-Forward Opportunity