Emerging flavors feed consumer demand for adventure, new experiences

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Emerging flavors feed consumer demand for adventure, new experiences

Related tags Milk

Consumer demand for healthy options and Millennial preferences for adventure and interactive experiences will heavily influence emerging flavor and culinary trends in 2018, according to flavor innovators.

“The younger consumers’ desire for entertainment and experiences, continue to drive innovation,”​ and is the inspiration for Comax Flavors “Familiar with the Not So Familiar”​ flavor collection which is “fun and playful”​ and “taps into consumers’ craving for dimensional flavors that add an element of surprise,”​ Catherine Armstrong, vice president of corporate communications for Comax Flavors, said in a release.

She explained that the flavors in this group include unexpected pairings, such as raspberry chipotle, whiskey pickle and deep fried cookie dough, which can be used across categories in ice creams, dressings, beverages, nutrition bars and snacks.

Desire for new experiences also will prompt more sharing and a blending of globally inspired flavors and cross-cultural hybrids, according to McCormick & Company’s 2018 Flavor Forecast, released Dec. 5.

For example, the spice and seasoning giant predicts handheld street food that borrow elements from different regions will captivate consumers, such as sizzling egg crepes from Asia stuffed with regional American favorites like smoky pork, slaw and barbecue sauces. Latin American arepas filled with gyro meat and tzatziki sauce is another example as is bao buns from China filled with British banoffee ingredients, including bananas, cream, cinnamon and toffee.

Updated twists on the classic Asian hot pot party also will give consumers a chance to try new flavors through a shared experience, according to the report which directs consumers to “gather friends around a steamy pot of deeply flavored broth. Offer meat, seafood and veggies for dunking, then finish with various toppings for a new DIY meal.”

It suggests new flavor combinations for hot pot parties will include a Central Mexican-inspired combination of ancho chili, smoked paprika and avocado crema, or a West Indies spin combining spiced coconut milk, bay leaves, thyme, turmeric and allspice served with plantain chips.

East African and Japanese flavors take center stage

Adventurous consumers also will embrace flavors East Africa, including a spicy and citrusy berbere blend from Ethiopia and Tanzanian barbecue known for its blends of citrus, tomatoes, curry, garlic and ginger, McCormick predicts.

Japanese Izakaya-inspired small plates featuring miso sake Yakitori glaze, rice balls stuffed with ginger and plum vinegar infused chicken also will satisfy consumers looking to share a new flavor experience with friends or family, the Flavor Forecast predicts. Along these same lines, Japan’s furikake blend of seaweed, sesame, dried seafood, sugar and salt also will offer consumers a new sweet and umami experience.

Millennials drive to share their experiences also inspired Comax to create a Think Pink collection of flavors inspired by wildly successful – and Instagramable – Millennial pink. The collection includes Pineapple Watermelon, Pink & White Cookie and Rosé Black Cherry Lemonade, all of which can be blended in to alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, nutrition and performance products, candy and sorbet.

Flavors will energize and sooth to fit wellness goals

Health management – whether it be calming down or staying energized – also will factor into consumers’ flavor decisions, Comax and McCormick predict.

Comax is introducing its Rest Assured collection in response to rising awareness about the negative impact of poor sleep on overall health. The “soothing multipurpose”​ collection includes cherry chamomile, honey lavender and warm milk, and it can be used in hot and cold beverages, baked goods, ice cream, candy and nutrition bars, according to the company.

On the flip side, McCormick predicts consumers will seek out “robust flavors and uplifting ingredients like cucumber, dandelion greens, ginger, turmeric and cayenne pepper”​ to help them wake up, stay energized and “rebalance.”

This trend will play out in blends such as a cucumber, clementines and cayenne in morning juices, afternoon soups made from oyster mushrooms, avocado, thyme and safe and an “evening elixir,”​ such as a mocktail with muddled pineapple, ginger, turmeric and dandelion greens mixed with sparkling water, according to the Flavor Forecast.

Just because consumers are watching what they consume, they will still want to indulge, which is why Comax created a line of decadent flavors for nut milks. Its Not Milking It collection includes Salted Caramel S’mores made for cashew milk, Sweet Potato Maple Cinnamon made for almond milk and Turmeric Golden Milk for coconut milk.

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