Complexity, intensity and spice: McCormick predicts 2011 flavor trends

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Americans are looking for more complex and intense flavors and are consuming more spices than ever before, according to McCormick’s annual flavor fusion forecast.

The seasonings company said that its flavor forecast looks at emerging flavor trends that are expected to feature strongly in the food industry over the coming year. Combinations to watch out for in 2011 include roasted curry powder with wild mushrooms, ancho chile pepper with hibiscus, and thyme with stone fruits, the report said. It cites US Department of Agriculture data that show US spice consumption at more than one billion pounds a year – and growing more than three times faster than the population.

McCormick chef Larry Tong said: “Mixing and matching different tastes, textures and visual cues adds fun and energy to the basic pleasures of eating…Whether it’s the unexpected zing of hibiscus in a Latin-inspired ancho chile sauce for ribs or brisket, or a clever twist on a cheesecake tart with an herb-popcorn crust, this year’s flavors really take the taste buds to exhilarating new places.”

The top ten flavor pairings for 2011 are:

  • Fennel & Peri-Peri Sauce
  • Pickling Spice & Rice Vinegar
  • Roasted Curry Powder & Wild Mushrooms
  • Caramelized Honey & Adzuki Red Beans
  • Ancho Chile Pepper & Hibiscus
  • Thyme & Stone Fruits
  • Mustard Seed & Vermouth
  • Cilantro & Nut Butters
  • Herbes de Provence & Popcorn
  • Green Peppercorn & Goat’s Milk

For over a decade McCormick has released an annual trend forecast which draws on the expertise of sensory analysts, chefs, trend experts and food technologists.

Chairman, president and CEO of McCormick Alan Wilson said: “As consumers crave more flavor – in restaurants, in their kitchens and on grocery store shelves – the report serves as a catalyst for innovation in the food industry.”

Earlier this year, McCormick said it was looking to tap into the growing demand for authentic spice in the United States when it agreed to buy a 26 percent share in Eastern Condiments Private Limited, an India-based spice and seasoning business, for $35m. The company said it expected to benefit by bringing Eastern’s spices and seasonings to US food manufacturers and consumers, as well as helping Eastern participate in this growth in the US and other western markets.

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