Sometimes, you have to stop and smell the roses. Other times, you have to stop and smell the hibiscus. Then you harvest it, and you have yourself an international food trend.

When Firmenich named Hibiscus the official flavor of 2019, they were just noting a trend that’s been growing for years. Customers all over the world are excited about this beautiful plant. However, the U.S. can still boast the most growth of dishes that include hibiscus. If you’re a restaurant owner in America, it’s time to serve this delicious ingredient.

In the Pink

Hibiscus tastes delicious, but that’s just the beginning. This powerful plant also appeals to eco-friendly guests. As a natural flavor, it’s a sustainable resource. That means it can appeal to guests who want clean label options. This ingredient is also great for gluten-free and vegan diners.

It’s good for the planet, and it’s also good for you. Hibiscus has numerous health benefits, and researchers are constantly finding more. It’s known as an antiviral that also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, and may even support weight loss. Mention these effects on social media to draw an even wider crowd.

 

Dollars and Scents

Hibiscus is still inexpensive, and also extremely versatile. Because of this, you can serve hibiscus teas and cocktails without breaking the bank. It’s also a key ingredient in the Senegalese drink, bissap. Reports are even coming in of hibiscus cider and kombucha, so there are countless of ways to include this flower in any kind of beverage.

The flavor can taste great in food as well as drinks. “Hibiscus is more than just a flower extract,” says Fausto Carriles, Senior Firmenich Flavorist in Latin America. “It does have a strong floral aroma, with a woody-astringent character, but at the same time there is a subtle and delicate fruity undertone, even a hint of green, like freshly cut mint leaves.” Consider using it in desserts, side dishes, or the sauce that goes with an entree.

 

Petal to the Metal

Florals and aromatics are more popular than ever. The launches of hibiscus flavor trend dishes have increased by nearly 300% since 2012. Hibiscus tea is available at Starbucks, one of the most successful chains in the country. Your guests don’t just know about this flavor, they already love it and are hungry for more.

Serving hibiscus isn’t just about increasing your profit margin. It’s also a way to improve the perception of your restaurant. Put it on your menu to show guests you care about their preferences, and this flavor can help fertilize your long-term marketing strategy.

Hibiscus is just one of several popular aromatics, along with elderflower. Since these trends are popular on Instagram, it’s important to make these dishes look as lovely as they taste. Add these beautiful flowers to your menu, post about it on social media, and watch your profits bloom.