For the latest in consumer and industry news, top trends and market perspectives, stay tuned to Mintel News featuring commentary from Mintel's team of global category analysts.

Mintel’s global team of food and drink analysts are unapologetic foodies. Not only do they spend most of their days talking, writing and presenting about food and drink, they also like to try as many products and cuisines as they can. They don’t just research food – dare we say, they’re obsessed with it!

More and more consumers today are turning to food for new experiences, seeking an element of novelty and surprise. And it’s these novelties that our analysts are always on the hunt for. Travelling the world for roadshows and industry events, speaking with clients and industry thought leaders along the way, they’re constantly looking to further develop their expertise.

In this series, ‘What they ate’, Mintel analysts share their recent food adventures, highlighting the exciting, the delicious, the intriguing and the terrible food and drink they’ve experienced in the past month.

The sweetness of camel milk chocolate

Amrin Walji, Senior Innovation Analyst (London)

“While I was on holiday in the United Arab Emirates, I tried for the first time chocolate made with camel’s milk and Arabian spices. A smooth, melt-in-the-mouth texture leads to a sort of dulce de leche-like aftertaste with strong notes of cardamom and cinnamon. This chocolate is particularly innovative as it positions itself as the ‘first and finest camel’s milk chocolate symbolising the taste of the Arabian world’. It features half the fat content of cow’s milk and is highly suitable for people suffering from diabetes due to its natural low sugar content. I loved it and would definitely eat it again!”

The epic-ness of Japanese ‘dude’ food

Jodie Minotto, Research Manager, Mintel Food and Drink, Asia Pacific (Sydney)

“Japanese ‘dude’ food has emerged as one of the biggest foodservice trends in 2018, so naturally I had to give it a go. I visited Mister Miyagi’s Sydney pop-up on a weekend and indulged in the Spider Crab Taco (tempura soft shell crab with sushi rice, guacamole, pickled jalapenos and curried mayo in a tempura nori taco shell) and Wasabi Fries, washed down with a lychee soda (lightly sweet, with lychee flavoured chewy bits à la bubble tea). My husband downed the panko crumbed, truffled wagyu beef cheek ‘dawg’ so fast I didn’t even get to try it.

The verdict? This is seriously good food. I loved the elevated Japanese/US fusion and the application of Mintel’s ‘Eat with your Eyes’ trend: the Mr Miyagi logo is literally branded on the side of the bao roll! Also, the use of ramen seasoning on the fries was a nice tie-in to a retail packaged food product and many students’ late night cravings. It’s definitely the food of fantasies – and a brand I’ve fallen for.

The lightness of BrewDog’s stout

Jenny Zegler, Associate Director, Mintel Food & Drink (Chicago)

“I recently attended BrewDog’s iconic Punk Annual General Mayhem festival in Ohio, US. My standout of the day was BrewDog Edgelord Beer, a Brettanomyces fermented maple stout with cocoa nibs and blueberries, aged in cognac barrels. It was a mind-bending combination – almost a stout for summertime. Stouts are usually full-bodied, heavier beers, especially when barrel-aged, but Edgelord was light and more easily drinkable than a traditional stout. It had a sour start from the Brettanomyces yeast, but it finished on a sweeter note.”

The unique texture of Turkish ice cream

Emma Schofield, Global Food Science Analyst (London)

“I recently went on a food tour while on holiday in Istanbul and I was really impressed with the local cuisine. I had a chance to try MADO ice cream, which is made with salep flour derived from the tubers of orchid plants. According to their website, the ice cream has a long history of over 300 years and is the evolution of traditional Karsambac, a sort of shaved ice mixed with fruit extract, originally from Anatolia. In time, it was enriched with other ingredients such as milk, honey and salep, and turned into the well-known unique ice cream of today. MADO claims to use the milk of animals fed on thyme, milk vetch and orchid flowers on the high plateaus on the hillsides of Ahır Dağı. I must say it was delicious and the texture was indeed noticeably different than anything I’ve tried before – it’s not a myth! ”.