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Handheld Flavor Sensations

2024 Food & Flavor Outlook        March 2024          Custom Culinary®

Pocket Perfection Header Image

Nothing beats the convenience and craveability of handheld pocket foods, where various carriers, proteins, vegetables and sauces come together and deliver a mouthwatering experience.

There’s an inherent ease and casual nature to pocket foods, many of which can be found as street fare around the world. Hungarian kolbice, Brazilian coxinha and Indian kathi rolls, to name a few, are packed with flavor and easily eaten on the go, without the need for utensils.
Because many pocket foods serve as small meals or filling snacks, protein often plays a starring role. Various combinations of minced meats and seafood, along with plant-based options such as falafel, bean paste and lentils, can be marinated or sauced to deliver memorable flavor while satisfying hunger. 

  • Swabian maultaschen, or pasta pockets, filled with pork, spinach, onions and bacon (Germany)

  • Plant-based chicken Darjeeling momos, for a vegetarian take on a traditional steamed dumpling (India)

  • Miniature Melton Mowbray savory pies filled with roasted, uncured pork in a crisp pastry crust (UK)

 Within foodservice, pocket foods tend to be more common in quick service and fast casual operations. Some operators specialize in a single type of pocket food offered with both traditional fillings and more unconventional fusion-style ingredients. Much of the innovation comes from international influence, such as stuffing a Colombian empanada with Thai fried rice, hearts of palm, squid and shrimp.

  • Trapizzini, stuffed pizza pockets filled with meatballs, veal with salsa verde, chicken cacciatore and more (Italy)

  • Fusion-style maki rolls, including one filled with chicken, cheese and Chips Oman, a popular snack (UAE)

  • Breakfast wrap on malawach (Yemenite Jewish flatbread) stuffed with chicken sausage, cheesy scrambled eggs, pickled Fresno peppers and harissa mayo (US)

 Warm and comforting bites shine in the snacking category, with many offerings found in the freezer case to be heated at home. Miniature samosas, pizza bites, fritters and savory pastries showcase the appealing contrast of crispy outer layers with luscious fillings.

  • Mini butter chicken “naanpanadas,” swapping traditional empanada pastry dough for Indian-inspired naan (Canada)

  • Japanese-style onigiri, or rice balls, filled with grilled salmon and wrapped in nori seaweed (Thailand)

  • Papas rellenas, or mashed potato balls, filled with beef (Colombia)

 Around the world, we’re finding pocket foods that are both soft and crunchy, sweet and savory, authentic and fusion inspired. The category demonstrates the goodness that comes when opposite textures, flavors and influences attract!


FOODSERVICE: Operators are finding inspiration in global street foods, bringing new interpretations and fusion-style dishes to their own regions.
PROTEIN PROCESSORS: Both animal- and plant-based proteins serve as the foundation of flavor for many global pocket foods. Cross-cultural influence will bring these fillings into new formats.  
SNACKING: Pocket snacks deliver both sweet and savory opportunities for indulgence, ranging from poppable bites to more filling snacks that serve as meal replacements or shareables.



In her Birria Panipuri, Chef Jaime Mestan draws complex flavors out of every layer to create a satisfying bite-sized treat. Crisp panipuri shells are filled with corn and hominy coated in Griffith Foods Elote Seasoning. They’re topped with slow-roasted shredded beef rubbed in Griffith Foods Birria Seasoning, cilantro, onion and a spoonful of rich consomm√©. Watch the video and see how it’s done!



Traditional Japanese Inarizushi

A Unique, Fulfilling Snack

Traditional Japanese inarizushi features vinegared rice tucked into slightly sweet, deep-fried tofu pockets. Creating an “open” version allows for the inclusion of additional ingredients such as fish and vegetables.

Inari Sampler

Inari Sampler

Sushi rice stuffed tofu pockets prepared three ways: stuffed with danmuji (pickled daikon radish) and nori, topped with avocado and bonito flakes, and dressed with spicy salmon, cucumber and salmon roe.


From single-bite treats to satisfying meals on the go, there’s no limit to the possibilities of pocket foods! Contact your Griffith Foods representative to learn how our versatile products can enhance your culinary creations.


Our topical seasonings, marinades and brines enliven meat, seafood and plant-based proteins to create flavorful fillings for pocket foods.

• Siu Mai Seasoning
• Dill Pickle Brine and Marinade

Sauces and Dressings

Authentic ingredients deliver bold flavors to our dressings and dipping sauces, which can be used for both hot and cold applications.  

• Creole Remoulade Sauce
• Lobster Roll Dressing
• Panipuri Coriander Chutney
• Sichuan Dumpling Dipping Sauce

Textures, Coatings and Batters

We offer a range of coatings and batter systems to help achieve the perfect crunch for handheld carriers and bite-sized savory treats.

• Kimchi Pancake Batter
• Potato Chip Sophisticated Crust Batter System


Pocket foods are the ideal vessel for gently introducing new flavors, new formats and new culinary influences one bite at a time. What’s coming next?


Pocket foods will continue to evolve and take on new forms, driven by regional tastes and preferences. Cross-cultural fusions and ingredient swaps help to blend the familiar with a taste of something new.


Innovative combinations of flavors and textures (in both fillings and carriers) will help to boost the creation of dynamic, sensory-rich experiences surrounding pocket foods.


Better-for-you, plant-based and vegetable-rich options will bring a wellness spin to the largely indulgent category, with pocket foods that still offer great taste without the guilt.  

2023 Food & Flavor Footer

Datassential, “Trendspotting: Global Sandwiches,” 2022.
Mintel, 2024 FlavorIQ® Food and Flavor Outlook Report, January 2024.

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*Custom Culinary® is part of the Griffith Foods family of companies.