Marketing | Menu Planning

Mediterranean Mojo: Tzatziki is Finally Getting the Attention It Deserves

Jun 14, 2024
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Mediterranean Mojo: Tzatziki is Finally Getting the Attention It Deserves

Tzatziki. The name doesn’t exactly roll off your tongue. But once you’ve had tzatziki on your tongue, it’s a name you’ll never forget. Cool, creamy and refreshingly tangy, tzatziki has long been a favorite flavor in Mediterranean countries. But has its time come in the U.S.?

Perhaps.

With the U.S. economy humming, competition for restaurant traffic is just what you’d expect: fierce. And while discounting remains a popular remedy, many operators are also retooling their menus, with an eye toward adding unique, new flavors—and with good reason.

  • According to Technomic, 40% of consumers are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers new, innovative flavors.1

Adding intriguing sauces, spreads and condiments to items you’re already serving is an easy, inexpensive way to accomplish this. And tzatziki—a time-tested blend of Greek yogurt, olive oil, cucumber, salt, garlic, lemon juice and an herb (like dill or mint)—is a great place to start.

Tzatziki in America: To know it is to love it

As you may know, tzatziki is not new—its history can be traced back to the Ottoman Empire.2 But for many U.S. consumers, tzatziki is still a question mark.

  • 66% have never heard of tzatziki.3
  • Only 6% of menus in the U.S. mention it.3

While this may not sound favorable at first, keep in mind that…

  • Of those who have tried it, 74% like or love it.3
  • And consequently, tzatziki menu penetration is expected to grow +12% over the next four years.3

According to Michael Zeller, Simplot Corporate Executive Chef, this represents a great opportunity for operators in keeping with the macro trend toward global flavors.

“Tzatziki is one of those up-and-coming flavors,” he says. “Now’s the time to give your customers the pleasure of discovering it. Don’t wait until everyone else is offering it.”

Tzatziki is incredibly versatile on menus

Tzatziki’s creamy and tangy qualities enhance the flavors of grilled meats, roasted vegetables, sandwiches, and salads, making these dishes more appealing to customers. While traditionally Mediterranean, tzatziki’s flavor profile is easily incorporated into various cuisines, including Middle Eastern, American, and fusion dishes. Its cool mouthfeel contrasts beautifully with hot and spicy dishes, providing a refreshing balance that enhances the overall dining experience. Moreover, you can use it as a dip, sauce, spread, or dressing, in everything from appetizers and main courses to side dishes and snacks.

Like so many classic flavors, the more you use it, the more ways you’ll find to use it.

Avocado + tzatziki: Two great flavors in one unique spread

Like tzatziki, avocado was once considered exotic in some corners of the U.S. Today, avocado is a year-round favorite in restaurants and grocery stores.

  • 93% of consumers know avocado.3
  • Among those who have tried it, 79% love or like it.3
  • Avocado is on nearly half of U.S. menus and expected to grow another 6% over the next four years.3
  • Best of all, sandwiches with avocado command a $2 price premium over those without. Dips with avocado see a $1 price premium.3

For operators struggling to maintain margins in the face of rising food and labor costs, avocado is just what the doctor ordered.

Recently, Simplot launched a line of flavored avocado spreads to give operators innovative, new ways to satisfy the public’s appetite for avocado.

The new Simplot® Harvest Fresh® Cucumber Tzatziki Flavored Avocado Spread is a one-of-a-kind mashup of premium, Mexican avocado pulp and tangy tzatziki goodness.

  • It’s versatile: Ideal on wraps, pitas, bowls, salads, burgers, sandwiches and more.
  • It’s tasty: The rich, creamy flavor of Mexican Hass avocado with tzatziki seasoning and crisp cucumber keeps customers coming back.
  • It’s LTO-ready: Looking for an LTO concept that’s easy to implement? This is it.
  • It’s dairy- and gluten-free: A great option for vegetarian/vegan customers.
  • It’s convenient: Frozen to maintain peak quality and reduce waste from spoilage.

If this piques your interest, consider the other flavors in the lineup: Dill Pickle Flavored Avocado Spread and (coming soon!) Everything Bagel Avocado Spread.

Tzatziki: it’s not just for gyros anymore

In a recent survey, 59% of foodservice operators said consumers are demanding more unique sauces, condiments and dressings (i.e., spicy, premium, globally inspired, etc). Clearly, unique flavors are one of the most potent ways to build and retain a loyal following. Tzatziki offers a fresh flavor that’s hard to replicate yet adapts easily to countless types of cuisine. Experiment with it and see for yourself!

1 Technomic, Flavor Consumer Trend Report, 2023
2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tzatziki
3 Datassential, 2024

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