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Elevated BBQ

May 2022 | Marketing & Insights

Whether it’s for snacks, sauces or protein, BBQ continues to be one of the most popular flavors in Western countries and is also surging in popularity worldwide with diversity in flavor and technique. As a result, brands are getting creative as they continue to explore ways to introduce BBQ flavors, smoked sensations, and international flair.

Why it is Interesting

The global BBQ charcoal industry is anticipated to augment at 4.9% CAGR during the forecast period from 2021 to 2031. 

Barbecue is now ranked number three on the list of top snack flavors globally, and fifth in meat. 
-WATT Poultry

"More ethnic food trucks, including Asian and Mexican, will be featuring BBQ on menus."
-Ernest Servantes, Pitmaster, 40-time Grand BBQ Champion

Grilled Fruit Flavors

Vegetarian and flexitarian consumers are expanding their grilling options by experimenting with adding smoke, heat, and grilled flavors to different types of fruit.

While dessert fruit has always been a popular summer BBQ snack, we’re beginning to see grilled fruit profiles enter the savory snack space. Often, fruit flavors (pineapple, banana, mango, and peach) are being elevated with savory and smoky grilled flavors and even complimented with spices, including chipotle, chili, and hickory blends.



Boozy BBQ

From soaking wood chips for a smoky unique flavor or adding it to sauces, alcohol has long been a staple in BBQ grilling.

With alcohol often being used to amplify flavor profiles, brands are using it in BBQ sauce by incorporating various spirits including whiskey, bourbon, tequila, vodka, and even beer. Flavor pops are being added as an artisanal element, including mustard, chipotle, and peach fruits.


Smoky Sensations

There’s no doubt that smoky flavors add an incredible punch to food. And now, consumers are increasingly exploring new smoked flavors that elevate their food and even drinks.

Whether it’s from hickory, oak cider, or maple, smoke-forward creations are becoming increasingly popular among consumers, creating intense and delicious flavor profiles. There are also more specialty woods that provide unique and bold flavor from mesquite, apple, and plum.


Multicultural Sizzle

Take a que from global barbeque an around-the-world grilling technique.

Multicultural BBQ influence is making its way into North American products with potato chips inspired by Korean BBQ flavors and Spanish chorizo. We’re also seeing other Asian-inspired barbecue spices enter the market such as Vietnamese Lemongrass BBQ, Korean Spicy Bulgogi, and Sichuan Chili Crisp.



  • Fruit flavors can be combined with smoky, grilled, and spicy barbecue heat. There is an opportunity to create a new sweet heat flavor experience, but with recognizable fresh fruits.
  • To lean into grilling trends, there’s an opportunity to leverage the tingly, drying, bitter, and sweet flavors that come with alcohol to elevate the barbecue flavor experience.
  • There are opportunities to incorporate new smoked flavors derived from various types of wood that have unique smoking notes (e.g., applewood, cider, etc.) and play with temperature to enhance the flavor profile.
  • Expect more influence from international barbecue flavors to enter the space including Korean, Mexican, Hawaiian, Caribbean, and Vietnamese.

Let’s collaborate on your next BBQ inspired innovation. Contact your McCormick account manager or contact us today.