Colorful Rice Appeals to the Foodservice Palate

Multi-colored rice - red, black, white, purple - in wooden boats, close-up
A palette of rice for today's health-conscious palate
Jan 17, 2018
ARLINGTON, VA -- Across the country, rice in a rainbow of colors is showing up in restaurants.  From Asian-inspired dishes to rice bowls and side dishes, exotic black, pink, brown, red, and even purple rice are increasing in popularity and visibility.

The rise in popularity of multi-hued rice can be attributed to multiple reasons.  Restaurants are constantly looking for innovative ways to add color to a plate and new flavors to the menu.  Health-conscious diners gravitate toward whole grain rice as a smarter food choice in general and with colorful rich rice being low in fat and rich in fiber, protein, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, it has become increasingly popular in menus across the industry.

And finally, “foodies” love the unique taste and texture that colorful rice brings to a meal.  It also photographs well for posting on social media!

“The trend of colorful rice in the foodservice marketplace shows no signs of slowing down,” said John Hasbrook, USA Rice Foodservice Subcommittee Chairman.  “For example, black rice as a menu item has a four-year growth rate of +48.7 percent across all segments and red rice has a four-year growth rate of +56 percent.”

Some restaurants have even made colorful rice a signature feature.  Sun Restaurant in Buffalo, New York, is known for exceptional dishes made exclusively with black rice; Red Rice Restaurant in Warwick, Rhode Island, offers red fried rice and red rice paella; and Purple Rice Korean Kitchen in New York City offers traditional and fusion Korean dishes made with colorful grains.

“From Pan-Asian-inspired entrees to fun and flavorful rice bowls, seasonal salads, and intriguing vegetable dishes, colorful rice is having an impact in foodservice and we’re happy to see chefs getting creative when it comes to the palette on their plates,” concluded Hasbrook.