Trendspotting with Symrise: Opposites attract & Southern revival reshape Americans’ taste preferences

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

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Staying ahead of the trends isn’t easy given how fickle consumers can be, but thanks to an exclusive partnership with StarChefs, the flavor and ingredient company Symrise is helping manufacturers remain relevant to consumers by identifying hot upcoming cooking styles and influential cuisines.

“We have a unique partnership with StarChefs and we are really engaged with them – chefs, pastry chefs and mixologists – to try and understand what is going on in their space, because they are inspiring industry, food service and retail. So, it is very important to stay on top of what is going on at their level,”​ Emmanuel Larouche, vice president of marketing and consumer insights with Symrise, told FoodNavigator-USA at IFT19 in New Orleans earlier this month.

Through this partnership, Larouche said Symrise has identified 11 major trends to watch in 2019 and beyond, including ‘opposites attract.’

“Opposites attract is one of the key trends we have, and the whole idea is it is maybe looking at things that at first don’t belong together, but they are combining ingredients or ingredients and techniques or sometimes ingredients and recipes that create another dimension to the product or the menu items they have,”​ he explained.

For example, he said, Symrise spotted a combination of Mediterranean and Japanese cooking, as well as in infusion of global flavors with traditional Southern US cuisine to create a “revival of the South.”

Within this trend, “there are a lot of things happening where you have chefs and mixologists and pastry chefs who are using traditional recipes or celebrating local ingredients and they are combining this with influences from ethnic groups throughout the South,”​ he said.

In New Orleans, for example, he pointed to local chefs integrating ingredients from Vietnamese fresh markets to give a new flavor profile to fried chicken. In Kentucky, the influence is coming more from Korea, in Memphis chefs are borrowing from India and in Nashville there is a strong Sicilian influence, he added.

Botanicals & herbs play more prominent role

Another trend Symrise is watching is the addition of blossoms, herbs and botanicals as a prominent ingredient in dishes and not just a garnish.

This “floral explosion”​ goes beyond rose and lavender, which have been popular for a while, to include new blossoms like nasturtium and marigold, Larouche said.

Other trends include Asian becoming more accessible, bold visuals​ and more sophisticated plant-based options​, according to Symrise as featured in two recent episodes of FoodNavigator-USA’s Soup-to-Nuts Podcast​.    

To discover all 11 trends, visit Symrise online to request a copy of the report​.  

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