Kerry: What are the up and coming food flavors and ingredients?

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

 ©GettyImages / Veronica Garbutt
©GettyImages / Veronica Garbutt

Related tags: Kerry, Flavors, Savory snacks

Taste is king with any new product, but which flavors and ingredients are consumers seeking out? Kerry Group's 2019 US Taste Trends show the key flavors and ingredients shaping the market across sweet and savory product applications.

Kerry Taste Charts​ methodology analyzes point of sale data, product launches, and menu penetration as its primary sources of data, in addition to internal insights and industry reports to chart out the lifecycle of a particular taste as it goes from niche and emerging to mainstream popularity.

“As trends shift in the food and beverage industry, our customers turn to Kerry for our global taste expertise and concept inspiration,”​ said Soumya Nair, director of marketing insights for Kerry North America.

“While working on a new product, we make sure we’re meeting consumer demand for on-trend, innovative taste experiences that go beyond flavor by incorporating global taste trends, visual impact and functional benefits in food and beverage applications.”

The taste lifecycle of coconut

Coconut grew from a niche flavor profile a little over 10 years ago to a mainstream product included in everything from cooking oil sprays to non-dairy ice creams. According to Kerry, the popularity of coconut starting tracking significant growth in 2010 with the rise in coconut oil use and between 2015 and 2018, there was a 5.2% growth in new product launches featuring the coconut flavor. 

In 2013, it appeared on Kerry’s charts as a ‘Key’ taste in sweet and within ‘Up & Coming’ (the fastest growing within the last three years) in beverage and culinary. Coconut has steadily grown to become a mainstay taste influencer on Kerry's Taste Trends charts, with a renewed interest among consumers following the boom of the ketogenic diet despite a decline in coconut oil usage in 2017.

Where next for coconut? Kerry predicts that coconut will still maintain a presence in sweet product formulations but that savory forms of the coconut flavor is the next 'Up & Coming' trend for the flavor.

Kerry's 'emerging' savory flavor profiles that saw the most growth within the past year



The evolution of sweet 

According to Kerry research, the typical mainstream flavors in sweet product formulations -- outside of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry -- now include honey, cinnamon, blueberry, raspberry, caramel, peanut butter, and fudge. The Up & Coming flavors which registered the most growth within the past three years included more globally-influenced and floral taste profiles such as matcha, chili pepper, cardamom, lavender, sesame, and champagne.

What's on deck in the emerging category (the fastest growing flavors in the last year)? Kerry pointed to more floral flavors such as chamomile, saffron, and rose, as well as increased savory taste experimentation with miso, rosemary, sea salt, wasabi, olive oil, bacon, and cheese. 

Savory taste predictions

Mainstream savory flavors including typical smoky and cheesy flavors along with other common ingredients such as chicken, garlic, butter, and tomato.

However. more culturally diverse flavors are begininng to take hold across different product applications. Within Up & Coming, Kerry identified miso, tazatziki, szechuan, chimichurri, harissa, and piri piri. The emerging savory flavors included, finger limes, dukkah, calamansi, baharat, agrodolce, tahini, sambal oelek, and fish sauce. 

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