Flavour trends: on a ‘Discovery Mission’

The search for something new, different, and exciting is leading flavour developments in food and beverage, supported by an ongoing interest in natural, clean label and healthier options, asserts Innova Market Insights.

‘New Discoveries’ emerges as the leader in Innova’s Top Flavour Trends report for 2019, just released.

Innova’s Top Flavour Trends for 2019 are:

1. New Discoveries: Consumers are on a big, broad journey of discovery, moving out of their comfort zones to explore new food experiences, with flavour playing a major part in that.

This is illustrated by the fact that two out of three US respondents in an Innova survey agreed with a statement that they “love to discover new flavours”. Even among more traditional consumers who didn’t agree with the statement, there is still a role for reinventing classic flavours with novel twists, alongside developing new and more unusual flavours and combinations.

2. Sensational Concepts: Brands are leaning towards more remarkable and unusual flavour hybrids, as well as stronger taste experiences (hot, sweet, savoury, etc), while sour options are also surging in popularity.

Well-established sweet and salty combinations are being joined by a whole raft of other hybrid flavour solutions, led by initiatives such as sushi pizza, spicy tuna roll corn dogs, pasta bacon tacos and ramen burgers in the foodservice sector.

3. Sophisticated Touch: Established flavours perceived to be dull are being reinvented, often in much more complex and sophisticated combinations.

An aging population globally is driving the demand for more adult-oriented options, with traditional coffee flavour, for example, increasingly giving way to more upmarket, added-value and on-trend options, such as Cold Brew Caramel Latte, in a whole range of food and beverage products.

As well as coffee, other adult-oriented flavours growing in popularity include various types of alcohol, as well as smoke/roasted options.

4. Cultural Celebration: Consumers regard themselves as world citizens and are increasingly interested in diverse flavours inspired by foreign cuisines.

Southeast Asian, East Asian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours are more in evidence in traditional and familiar Western snacks, beverages and ready-to-eat meals.  This demand for authentic-style ethnic alternatives focuses not just on flavour, but also recipes and even product/ingredients origins/provenance.

5. Fifth Dimension: Umami is the fifth basic taste after sweet, sour, bitter and salty but unlike the others, it’s hard to define. Often described as savoury, meaty deliciousness, it comes down to the taste of glutamates on the tongue.

Western awareness remains low, but the rising demand for exotic flavours and convenient home cooking is driving growth of launches with an umami claim. Conversely, umami is well-established and understood in the East, but the recent focus on mindful food choices and the demand for clean and healthy products has driven the use of ingredients with a natural source of umami taste.

The other top trends identified by Innova are:

6. Bitter is Back
7. Botanicals Branch Out
8. Fruitful Favorites
9. Functionally Flavourful
10. Flavour Connections

Innova will present the Flavour Trends for 2019 on 10 July 2019 at 4pm (SA time/CEST). Register for the webinar by clicking here.