The growing consumer desire for sophisticated, nuanced and personalized flavor experiences—with the enticing added benefit of health and wellness claims is what will dominate flavor trends in the coming year, according to global flavor and fragrance supplier Sensient Flavors.
Sensient’s industry experts used predictive analysis to identify six micro-trends that fall under three mega consumer trends: health and wellness, sensory and personalization. Within health and wellness, the micro-trends Sensient identified are lifestyle management (living better daily and meeting personal goals) and nostalgia (familiar or local food from the past). Within sensory: regional (experiencing other cultures) and taste plus (sensory stimulation that cuts through the clutter in this digital age). And within personalization: bragging rights (the thrill to be the first to uncover the newest sensation) and sophistication (refined tastes and personal expression).
The 12 flavors to watch—and the micro-trends that classify them—are:
- Balsamic fig–A blend of sweet, full-flavored figs and aged dark balsamic vinegar that is neither too sweet nor too tart. Balsamic fig is a mellow combination that elevates the sensory experience when added to various other flavors and works well in myriad formats. (Key micro-trend: taste plus)
- Burnt calamansi–A hybrid of a kumquat and mandarin orange, burnt calamansi has a unique citrus profile similar to a sour orange or a slightly sweeter lime with caramelized notes, with a fragrance to match. (Key micro-trend: sophistication)
- Fernet–An aromatic spirit or bitter containing myrrh, chamomile, cardamom, aloe and saffron that is a popular digestif in Italy. It’s flavored with a long (often secret) list of spices, roots and herbs. (Key micro-trend: regional)
- Ginger plum–A juicy, sweet and tart plum with a touch of spice from ginger that hits on multiple sensory experiences. (Key micro-trend: taste plus)
- Gochujang–Referred to by some as “the new Sriracha sauce,” gochujang is a savory and pungent fermented Korean condiment made from red chiles, rice, fermented soybeans and salt. (Key micro-trend: bragging rights)
- Green coconut–Green (young) coconut gained its initial recognition in the US from the rise of popularity of coconut water, which stemmed from the claim of its superiority over traditional sports drinks as nature’s electrolyte source. (Key micro-trend: lifestyle management)
- Guasacaca–A Venezuelan avocado sauce that many have likened to guacamole, but with a refreshing difference in flavor profile due to the addition of bright, grassy parsley notes. (Key micro-trend: regional)
- Juniper berries–Gin, primarily flavored with Juniper berries and often containing background notes of citrus and coriander, invokes the feeling of an elegant past era of expertly mixed cocktails. (Key micro-trend: nostalgic)
- Rhubarb–With antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, rhubarb—with its straightforwardly tart flavor profile—helps s boost the immune system and fight off disease. (Key micro-trend: lifestyle management)
- Ras el Hanout–A spice blend that typically includes cardamom, clove, cinnamon, chili peppers, coriander, cumin, peppercorn, paprika, fenugreek and turmeric, Ras el Hanout brings the flavors and culture of Morocco to consumers’ doorsteps. its name in Arabic means “top of the shop,” or the best spices the merchant had to offer (Key micro-trend: regional)
- Tayberry–A cross between a blackberry and a red raspberry, tayberries are rich in vitamins and antioxidants and are a welcome addition for the health-conscious consumer. (Key micro-trend: lifestyle management)
- Willamette hop–Used primarily as a flavoring and stability agent, hops impart a bitter, tangy flavor in beer, and increasingly, in confections and other unexpected food products. (Key micro-trend: bragging rights)