Gathering insights from McCormick team members across five global regions, the research that went into its latest flavor trends report included a series of virtual, interactive at-home culinary experiences led by chefs exploring a range of flavors, colors, and textures for both food and beverages.
Plants pushing boundaries
Representing how the plant-based world is now mainstream, McCormick identified the new wave of plant-based flavor which highlights vegetables, fruits, and botanicals that deliver indulgence, color, hearty texture, and other sensations for the consumer.
- Key flavors: ube (purple yam), Szechuan buttons (edible flower buds), and trumpet mushrooms
Inspired by the Yiddish word "nashn" meaning to nibble on, 'humble nosh' combines rising global flavors with the means to 'travel locally' through.
"It connects us with food and drinks that people have found comfort and nourishment in while satisfying cravings from around the world," said McCormick.
- Key flavors: chaat masala (Indian spice blend), pandan kaya (Malaysian jam), and crisped chilies
Underwater, under discovered
This flavor trend delves into less explored ingredients and textures from fresh and salt water like seaweeds and algae for culinary innovation.
"This trend uproots underwater botanicals that infuse snacks, meals, and beverages with an earthy flavor for a new take on fresh," noted McCormick.
- Key flavors: dulse (Red Sea lettuce flakes), spirulina (blue-green algae), and sea grapes (soft, green algae)
With the broad re-emergence of mindfulness and intention consumers are practicing in their daily lives, McCormick predicts a rising interest in "ancient practices and beliefs for mind-body balance, a sense of harmony, growth, and self-love," said the company highlighting the Ayurvedic practice, which uses six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent, and pungent) to achieve balance, and warming and cooling techniques to provide comfort to the body, as source for flavor inspiration, said the company.
- Key flavors: coriander, lemon, sea salt, cumin, turmeric, and ginger
"The pandemic sizably shifted the way we have lived our lives over the past year, yet food continues to be a way to bring people together, even virtually.
"Despite global travel restrictions, lockdowns, and logging in from vastly different time zones, it was moving to see everyone committed to our mission to study emerging trends and identify the flavors that will undoubtedly spark inspiration for both the home cook and professional chef for years to come," said Kevan Vetter, executive chef and director of culinary development for McCormick.