“There is a unique balance between nostalgic taste and avant-garde experiences that consumers seek today,” according to Kerry, which recently released its 2019 Taste Charts that track sales performance, consumer trends, foodservice influences and internal expertise to predict emerging and maturing flavor trends for upcoming year.
Based on its analysis it predicts that Americans will continue to seek out “authentic and unconventional taste experiences,” across categories.
For example, it notes that ube, or the purple yam traditionally used in the Philippines, will continue to gain traction in sweets in the US in 2019. Similarly, horchata, which hails from Mexico and Spain, and Chai from India will become more popular in sweets, Kerry predicts.
Among salty snacks, international influence is leading to the rising popularity of Korean BBQ, Thai Curry, Gochujang, Kimchi and even seaweed as emerging trends, according to the taste charts.
Other savory flavors borrowed from other cultures that are emerging trends include Dukkah, Berbere, Za’atarr, Togarashi, Golangal, Sambol Oelek and Bagoong. Still emerging, but gaining broader acceptance, are savory flavors from Africa, such as Harissa, and from Korea, including Bulgogi, Kerry notes.
At the same time that Americans are stretching their horizons, they also are holding tight to the familiar as nostalgic flavors start to make a comeback in sweets, such as snickerdoodle, cookie dough and s’mores. In savory options, familiar flavors like coconut, chive, and green onion also are merging. And in salty snacks classic flavors like pizza, chicken, and apple are up and coming.
Floral flavors start to bloom
Another emerging trend to watch in 2019 across categories is an increased use of floral and botanical flavors, according to Kerry.
For example, it predicts, in salty snacks manufacturers will use more rosemary, basil and cilantro. In hot and dairy beverages, florals like lavender, rose, hibiscus and elderflower are up and coming, while cold and water-based beverages will also see a rise in orange blossom, honeysuckle, chamomile and jasmine, it predicts. Sweets also will see an emerging influx of chamomile, rose and saffron and lavender will move closer to mainstream as an up and coming flavor in sweets.
Closely related is a rise in vegetable flavors, such as celery in cold beverages, avocado in hot and diary drinks, and chervil in savory options.
Part to the growth of botanical flavors is a rising interest in functional ingredients, Kerry notes. On this note, it points out that holy basil, turmeric and ashwagandha are all poised for growth in 2019.
Blurring lines between sweet and savory
The line between sweet and savory categories also are blurring as consumers increasingly look for the two flavor profiles together, Kerry predicts.
In traditionally savory dishes, mango will add a touch of sweetness as an up and coming flavor, while pineapple, maple and brown sugar all hold steady as key trends in savory.
On the conventionally sweet side, emerging savory flavors to watch are wasabi, miso, rosemary, sea salt, bacon and cheese. At the same time, salted caramel is a key trend that is tracking closer to mainstream.