From Szechuan pepper and pepita, to posh popcorn and ginger… Bell Flavors goes trendwatching for 2014

By Elaine WATSON

- Last updated on GMT

Bell Flavors flavor trends 201
Bell Flavors & Fragrances has unveiled its annual list of the top flavor trends to watch in the next 12 months, from a new wave of Asian flavors to aromatic herbs used in traditional Andean dishes.

The trends were identified by tracking customer requests over the past year, trend scouting by its marketing and R&D departments, and tracking external databases.

Here are its top five:

1 - VIBRANT LATIN AMERICA​ – The World Cup and Olympics will stimulate interest in Latin American culture and cuisine, predicts Bell Flavors. “As younger Hispanics become more health conscious, and as restaurants and chefs develop dishes to attract more Latino customers, they will likely reach for familiar ingredients that have long been known for being healthy.”

Huacatay​ (pronounced 'wah-ka-tay') is an herb with strong aromatic flavor that is used in many traditional Andean dishes.

Pepita​ - (from Mexican Spanish: pepita de calabaza, 'little seed of squash') is a Spanish culinary term for a pumpkin/squash seed.

2 - EXOTIC INDO/ASIAN​ –“Look no further than Lay’s sriracha potato chips or Keizo Shimamoto’s Ramen Burger to understand that Asian flavors have gone mass market,” ​says Bell Flavors.

Kimchi. Picture credit: Craig Nagy, Flickr

Kimchi​ - A traditional fermented Korean side dish made of vegetables with a variety of seasonings, kimchi is often described as spicy or sour, and like sauerkraut, has become extremely prominent due to its  unusual meld of umami and sour tastes, says Bell Flavors. “Kimchi will continue making its way onto restaurant menus with options that have crossover appeal, like kimchi-topped hot dogs.”

Halo Halo​ - Filipino food is set to become the next big Southeast Asian cuisine, predicts Bell Flavors, noting that Halo Halo, a  Filipino dessert combining milk, boiled sweet beans and fruits that’s served in a tall glass or bowl, is gaining popularity among non-Filipinos. “It’s a smorgasbord of many flavors, textures and ingredients which translates to “mix mix.” ​ (Check out what ethnic foods distributor KeHe had to say about this recently by clicking here​.)

3 - LET’S SPICE THINGS UP​ - Consumers are looking for new spicy flavors, and more sophisticated, complex layers of flavors.

Szechuan Pepper​ - Szechuan peppercorn creates a numbing sensation - and is getting more and more popular… (see Kalsec’s recent take on this here​).

Ginger​ - Expect to see more ginger across the board, from Asian stir fries to fruit and vegetable dishes, predicts Bell Flavors, echoing recent comments from New York based flavor house Virginia Dare (click here​).

4 - HEALTHY/WHOLESOME​ - Berries are “nutritional royalty these days​”, says Bell Flavors…

pop gourmet popcorn

Aronia Berries (​chokeberries) - Native to North America with a tart flavor.

Almond Caramel Popcorn​ - Look out for a “resurgence in popcorn as a gourmet snack​”, the firm told FoodNavigator-USA. ”Popcorn is a light weight healthy snack that fulfills our healthy/wholesome trend. It is also an easy snack to incorporate new flavors into as we are seeing various gourmet popcorns with garlic or rosemary or other spices infused as a dust on the popcorn to give it a trendy edge.

“These days consumers are looking to make every calorie count without sacrificing on taste. Adding different flavors to traditional popcorn turns it into a trendy gourmet treat without nipping into the waistline​.”

5 - ALLERGEN FREE​ – Growing demand for allergy-free options is creating tremendous business opportunities for product flavor development, says Bell.

Asian Cooking Sauces​ - “Asian cooking sauces encompasses Allergen free flavors for common cooking condiments such as red miso, oyster, soy, peanut and fish sauces.”

Whole Grains​ - Look out for more gluten-free wholegrains…  

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1 comment

1. Vibrant Latin America

Posted by Alexzchef,

The World Cup and Olympics will be in Brazil, the only non-Hispanic country in Latin America. Brazilian flavor profiles and spices are a whole lot different than what you published here.

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