The new year always brings with it a host of new flavors, trends and dishes for hungry American consumers to obsess over. Restaurants spend time and energy trying to figure out which dishes will be the most popular and Instagrammable in 2018. This year it appears the ubiquitous Indian flatbread, Naan is climbing up the charts and winning diner’s hearts to become the fastest growing bread type in America.
Even in Birmingham, UK, there’s a giant naan available that is proving just how much the world is loving this traditional Indian flatbread.
Naan Goes Mainstream
It’s always a sure sign of popularity when foods begin to show up on lists of yearly trends. Naan is clearly having a great few years as the foodservice leader Sysco has begun offering their own brand of Naan through their Cutting Edge Solutions platform. Sysco’s Baker’s Source Imperial Buttermilk Naan with Caramelized Onion shows that consumers are not just gobbling up traditional naans, but also have an appetite for upscale naan with premium ingredients.
TGI Fridays serves a Mediterranean Shrimp Naan sandwich of grilled shrimp with cucumber yogurt sauce, romaine, kale, garlic, basil and tomatoes on naan. Naan is also increasingly being used in place of the less pliable pita bread in more sandwiches and wraps spanning multiple cuisines.
Aldi is a giant discount grocery chain that has also taken to stocking naan among a selection of other breads due to customer demand. And they’re not the only ones: Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods both have several versions of naan, as well as dishes like pizza that utilize naan over more carb-laden breads which are falling out of favor with consumers.
Flat Breads for Flatter Stomachs?
Reports show that bread sales are growing stale to health-conscious consumers. No longer are customers being wooed by free-flowing breadsticks and biscuits. As ketogenic and paleo lifestyles continue to trend among diners, carb-loving people are baking naan as a lower calorie bread that still satisfies.
Flavored naans, like the much-maligned avocado toast, offer a variety of ingredients and toppings to flavor this chewy and crispy flatbread. The abundance of different flavors of naan, as well as using it as a pizza crust, is helping toss naan above the usual breads restaurants have historically favored.
The List Goes On a Naan
Naan pizzas, wraps, and even sourdough naan are coming out of ovens and tandoori all across the world with greater frequency. The bread’s lower carb content, as well as the explosion of Indian fast casual restaurants are putting this bread into the hands and mouths of diners who have had little prior experience with it.
It’s lower price point, relatively faster cooking time, and imminent shelf stability are making naan the obvious choice for more restaurants to use in more dishes. It seems the only naan issue diners are having is that they can’t get enough of it.