Rather, Philip Caputo, the marketing and insights manager for Virginia Dare, boldly declared at IFT that if he had to pick one big new flavor trend to watch for 2019 it would be banana.
“We are seeing banana in a lot of products. Banana milk is starting to emerge here and there, banana profiles, caramelized banana, bananas foster, chocolate pairings as hazelnut and banana. It is just coming around,” he said.
But banana isn’t the only emerging flavor captivating manufacturers and consumers in the food and beverage industry. In this episode of FoodNavigator-USA’s Soup-to-Nuts Podcast, Caputo and others, including corporate chefs from the ingredient companies Mizkan and Asenzya, share what flavors and cuisines are beginning to captivate restaurant goers and influence retail innovations. They also share which current trends are sticking around and which ones are starting to fade.
Kid favorites with adult twists
Beyond banana, Virginia Dare’s Caputo says elevated twists of nostalgic flavors associated with childhood are starting to creep into distinctly adult products.
For example, he said the company has received a lot of requests for cereal milk flavor, which the company is elevating for use in sports nutrition products and cocktails.
A perhaps unexpected flavor that is hitching a ride on America’s ongoing nostalgia kick is bitters – in particular angostura, according to Mizkan’s Executive Director of Sales and Marketing Dave Sackett.
He attributes this to America’s fascination with classic cocktails that were popular mid-century and are making a come back thanks to the popularity of the hit television drama Mad Men.
Another flavor trend that is “growing up” and starting to take off is an adult version of sour. We are not talking about the shocking, mouth-puckering sour of iconic childhood confections like Tear Jerkers. Rather, Dax Schaefer who is the corporate executive chef and director of culinary innovation at Asenzya says we are seeing the rise of the tongue-tingling sour of kombucha and fermented foods and the balancing sour that helps make otherwise sweet dishes savory.
Vinegars are pigging backing on sour
Another driver of sour is America’s growing excitement for the tang of vinegar. According to Mizkan Corporate Chef Juliet Greene apple cider vinegar in particular is going mainstream and as it does it is opening the cupboard door for other less familiar vinegars.
“You are seeing ACB on menus, kind of like EVOO and it just goes to show that is becoming more mainstream,” she said, adding that even young children are developing a taste for the ingredient.
As Greene hinted at by connecting apple cider vinegar and gut health, functionality is a big motivator for consumers and this is paving the way for more botanicals in foods and beverages – even if it is just for the flavor and not an actual health benefit as Virginia Dare’s Caputo notes.
He explained that Virginia Dare debuted at IFT its new line of botanical flavors which are helping companies also create clean labels by replacing the “flavors” they previously used.
Emerging cuisines include Asian options
While zeroing in on specific flavor profiles is a useful exercise when thinking through new product development, ingredients don’t exist in a vacuum and many of the flavors mentioned here are either getting a boost from or helping to draw awareness to specific global cuisines.
As regular listeners may recall, Symrise predicted that ‘acceptable Asian’ is a trend to watch in 2019 and beyond, and Asenzya’s Schaefer echoed this – explaining that the trend will likely continue evolving for the next 10 years.
“We are in the early stages of Asian cuisine,” which means industry players are introducing flavors and concepts but that most American’s are not yet ready for too many details or unfamiliar names and terms, he explained.
As America becomes more sophisticated in its approach to “Asian” cuisine, Schaefer predicts we will see a more traditional Thai, Vietnamese and Korean dishes and flavors gain acceptance.
In a completely different direction, Schaefer also predicts that Middle Eastern food will soon hit its stride.
As illustrated, American’s taste palates are expanding and Schaefer and the others are excited to continue to introduce new ideas and flavor combinations – setting the stage for a dynamic upcoming decade.