November 1, 2017
By FEMA Staff
In recent years, American cuisine has expanded its traditional menu to include fresh new international foods and flavors, resulting in a clear increase in the number of international restaurants, cookbooks, and ingredients sold in supermarkets. Influences from Asian, Latin American, and Mediterranean cuisines have inspired exciting new creations in the kitchen. America still has a lot to discover, but we have taken major leaps forward into the vast world of international flavors.
As more people travel the world and explore different cultures, international intricacies continue to become more widespread. Globalization affects everything from business practices to the food we eat. The increase in international foods and flavors in the United States is most prevalent in colleges and universities due to their diverse demographics and growing number of international students. Also, this generation is known for its willingness to embrace new experiences and its strong emphasis on living healthy and sustainable lifestyles.
Health is, in fact, one major benefit of introducing international flavors and foods to your diet. Instead of using saturated fats, cooking in other cultures highlights the use of produce, whole grains, herbs, and unsaturated plant oils. Mediterranean foods from Turkey, Lebanon, and Greece include a plentiful amount of greens — both wild and cultivated. Poppy greens, amaranth shoots, purslane, and twice baked barley rusks provide a good source of fiber and flavor to Mediterranean cuisine.
Fresh Spanish salads with figs and gazpacho vinaigrette bring fascinating new flavors to the table. Latin American cuisine includes interesting ingredients such as cactus paddles, squash blossoms, anacho chilies, lemon grass and tomatillos. Similarly, bold flavors like curry, garlic, ginger, and paprika come from Asian-inspired catering. Classic dishes like Pad Thai and Pho Noodle Soup are increasingly popular in the United States. Even the classic American fast food restaurant, McDonalds, has dipped into the field of international flavors with its sauce creations, such as sweet chili and hot mustard.
As a whole, Americans eat significantly fewer beans, grains, fruits, and vegetables than the rest of the world. The introduction of international foods in the U.S. gives many people an exciting new flavorful diet. While we have seen a shift in traditional American cuisine, there are still many new flavors and foods to explore internationally.
The Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association of the United States (FEMA) was founded in 1909 and is the national association of the U.S. flavor industry. FEMA’s membership is comprised of flavor manufacturers, flavor users, flavor ingredient suppliers, and others with an interest in the U.S. flavor industry. The association is committed to ensuring a safe supply of flavor ingredients used in foods and beverages enjoyed by billions of men, women, and children around the world.