AI-based Ideation: Ezme (Turkish Spicy Salsa)

What is it?

Ezme is a spicy tomato-based ‘salsa’, made with mashed tomatoes, onion, chillies, green herbs and spices.

Traditionally, there are many versions of ezme – some of which contain pomegranate or garlic, for example. And, in terms of texture, it can range from being a chopped ‘salad’ to a mixed sauce.

It is a very typical Turkish mezze, served in kebab houses and restaurants throughout Turkey.

What’s the context?

UK interest in Middle Eastern/Mediterranean cuisines was notable in 2020, with many consumers already having a taste for the staples, which have been modified in both retail and restaurants for many years.

Turkish cuisine is relatively simple, but it is full of quality and easy for consumers to pick up, both in and out of home.

Considering the rise in interest in lesser-known Asian condiments and sauces (of which, 56% of UK consumption is of ‘spicy’ variants); perhaps this might be a good time to introduce other, authentic, global, spicy side dishes and condiments to see if UK consumers might be receptive.

So, does AI-based consumer data indicate that Turkish ezme is a viable option for development teams looking to engage and attract curious UK consumers this summer (and beyond)?

What the Tastewise data says about Ezme:

While it has little to no penetration on the UK market at present, outside the Turkish restaurant scene, social discussions around ezme are rising 55.62% on average (MoM).

This is still a small data set, mind, but it is promising growth.

When taking a step back to see how ‘salsa’ is performing in the UK, we can see that the term ‘spicy sauce’ is the second most popular association when it comes to the condiment.

“Salsa is trending and is growing in a significant manner,” the platform reveals, with ‘vegan’ the top associated diet with 9.69% of the market share (a change of +7.93% from last year).

Interestingly, UK social discussion around ‘keto’ and ‘salsa’ is up 28.1% YoY.

Umami is the fastest rising taste profile when it comes to ‘spicy salsa’, with a 66.75% increase YoY.

PURE NPD’s Verdict

While still an unknown in the UK, the signs look fairly good for ezme from a development point of view, with its spicy flavour profile and diet-friendly makeup ticking some real boxes.

Tom Gatehouse
Tom is the editor of Pure NPD Insights. He previously spent three years at William Reed’s food insight platform Food Spark, was the co-founder and editor of The Cream, is a former Restaurant magazine columnist and has had chef training in fifty of the best restaurants in the UK and Europe.

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