Spicy foods open Americans to international flavors in 2016, McCormick & Co. predicts

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Source: McCormick & Co Flavor Forecast
Source: McCormick & Co Flavor Forecast

Related tags Spice Food Mccormick

America’s love affair with spicy flavors will continue in 2016, but with an evolutionary twist that also will open the door for more multicultural flavors, predicts McCormick & Co. in it is annual flavor forecast. 

Based on research conducted by a global team of experts, including chefs, culinary professionals, trend trackers and food technologists, McCormick predicts that spicy flavors will find “a welcome contrast with tangy accents to elevate the eating experience,”​ according to the firm.

The tang will come from limes, Meyer lemons, kumquats and cranberry, as well as rice vinegar, yuza and tamarind, according to the industry flavor giant.

Examples of tangy heat include a spicy sambal sauce from Southeast Asia that blends chilis, rice vinegar, sugar and garlic. Peruvian chicken served with sauces made from aji Amarillo and aji rocoto chilies also will emerge.

Ongoing demand for spicy food also will open the door for other distinct flavors from Southeast Asia, including “tropical Asian”​ flavors from Malaysia and the Philippines. These include pinoy barbeque that combine soy sauce, lemon, garlic, sugar, pepper and banana ketchup. Rendang curry, a Malaysian spice paste with mild heat, lemongrass, garlic, ginger and other herbs, is another example.

Other flavor trends that McCormick predicts will bloom in 2016 include:

Alternative pulse proteins ​– Dried peas, beans and lentils combined with earthy, fruity and sharp mustard-based flavors will gain traction.

Blends with benefits​ – Trendy ingredients that offer functional health benefits, including matcha green tea, flaxseed, chia and turmeric, will gain acceptance when blended with more familiar ingredients, such as citrus, cinnamon, Mediterranean herbs and sugar.

Ancestral flavors​ – Ancient grains join with “local”​ heritage tales to give ingredients with deep historical and cultural roots and chance to flourish in 2016. For example, McCormick calls out smokey mezcal from Mexico, amaranth from the Aztecs and a rediscovery of long-known herbs, including peppermint, parsley, lavender and rosemary.

Culinary-infused sips​ – Craft cocktails continue to captivate consumers with the rise of three classic culinary techniques that add depth and new flavors. These including pickling ingredients for spicy, zesty drinks; roasted ingredients for “distinctive browned flavor,” ​and bruleed ingredients for a caramelized sugar note. 

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