Asian flavors, bacon, Mexican foods, and better-for-you snacks are among the top snack food trends on the up in the United States, according to a new report from Bell Flavors.
According to Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD), bacon continues to be a firm favorite with product developers, appearing in 38 food subcategories in 2010. And bacon flavors with smoky notes, like applewood, mesquite and maple, have become mainstream.
Bacon is a prime candidate for product innovation, the report said, as one of the few flavors other than cheese, that can provide a smoky flavor, and its salty taste is also attractive to new product developers.
“From a product development standpoint, bacon is an American favorite which makes it a low risk ingredient in many new food product innovations,” it said. “…Industry experts predict new food innovation products that incorporate bacon will continue to be a new innovation trend in the food industry.”
Products flavored with bacon span a huge range of categories, and include bacon-flavored mayonnaise, shakes, donuts, cola, coffee, and hot sauce.
‘White hot’ Asian flavors
Asian flavors meanwhile are “white hot” among product developers, the flavor company said, boosted by US concerns about healthy eating.
“Many Asian culinary traditions, ingredients and ideas are perceived as more healthful than others,” the report said.
As Americans have embraced pan-Asian flavors, new Asian-inspired snack products have emerged, flavored with Thai sweet chili, spicy peanut, prawn, and curry.
“One key element behind this is the increasing participation of Asian farmers in American agriculture, which has added Vietnamese herbs, kaffir lime, Indian and Japanese eggplants, kabocha squash and the like to the bounty of American produce,” it said.
Mexican foods and flavors have been ubiquitous in the United States for some time, but with a third of US households now preparing Mexican foods at home, Mexican ingredients and dishes are becoming more authentic, according to Bell.
“Stronger more complex flavors of cheese and sauces are finding their way onto American plates as we embrace stronger flavors.
“Food adventurers are leading the drive toward more authentic flavors. With greater exposure to diverse flavors and ingredients through travel, restaurant dining, television and the internet, consumers are hungering for authenticity at home too.”