2020 Flavor Trends: A Comprehensive Overview

The Novotaste comprehensive overview of 2020 flavour trends is a distillation of various sources of information. This includes the analysis of thousands of articles, 2019 NPD launches, current trendy flavours, beverages & foods, various flavour forecasts, novel ingredients as well as current restaurant menus. All this information was compiled & cross-referenced with flavour development projects encountered throughout the year as well as 2018 trends. Various original & creative flavour profiles were also added by the Novotaste R&D team.

This resulted in a list of various “key points” or direct quotes from various publications, that generally summarizes 2020 flavour trends (below). This is complimented with a more in-depth analysis that includes 10 key categories of 2020 flavour trends. This includes (1) flavour fusions, (2) multisensory flavour experiences, (3) beyond mocktails (booze flavours in everything), (4) hot & spicy mixes, (5) botanicals, extracts & essential oils, (6) international & authentic, (7) indulgence, (8) vive la différence (unique profiles), (9) flavours for vegan applications & (10) twists on classics. For each category, we have included various examples of representative flavours as well as one spotlight profile.

Key points

-As globalization and connectivity increase, the “flavor melting pot” is expected to continue to influence NPD. The need for new and exciting tastes is driving consumer demands, while natural ingredients and flavors are a constant trend. The industry is responding with surprising flavor combinations and limited edition releases that target the adventurous consumer (read more).

-Millennials currently are spending 13% of their salaries on food and beverage…in 10 years they’re going to be the largest spender in the food and beverage space, so (the fact) these are the types of flavors and products that appeal to them is going to be critical in keeping their attention (read more).

-Aged, oaked, malted, effervescent, and even piney, as in the case of gin — these are some of the flavor profiles of beers, wines and spirits that food and beverage formulators try to capture and apply to non-alcoholic products (read more).

-Consumers from mature markets are particularly fond of flavor trends. “In the US, the variety of flavors that a brand can offer is remarkable. Flavors are key to build up a complete and diversified product range. In mature markets, consumers are willing to go further regarding taste innovation. In the US, bakery-inspired notes are particularly popular (read more).

-Diners continue to be more educated, mindful and globally connected than ever before (read more).

-Leveraging a flavor strategy that has the ability to attract consumers of all ages is an important tactic today. Over the past decade, the foodservice industry has been almost entirely focused on one generation: Millennials. Of course, there was good reason to be so fixated on one demographic. It was, at the time, the largest—surpassing Baby Boomers—with a tremendous potential spending power and a unique emphasis on the power of food and its role in the generation’s identity. In 2019, Gen Z is poised to outnumber Millennials and will represent 32 percent of the total population…yYounger consumers—Millennials and Gen Z—have grown up in far more diverse environments than previous generations, and have shown both an aptitude for and interest in becoming familiar with foreign cultures. For each brand, it’s important to decide where the operation stands on staying authentic, the level of responsibility in educating its consumers, and whether it’s important to encourage experimentation by creating a “safe” environment….no one answer here is correct, but enabling older consumers to try new flavors can be part of a more engaging and exciting experience, and can deepen the relationship between patron and operation (read more).

-Consumers are expecting both original and natural tastes in the flavors space. “In addition, industrial products are increasingly inspired by gourmet food, resulting in the democratization of exquisite ingredients….consumers from mature markets are particularly fond of flavor trends. “In the US, the variety of flavors that a brand can offer is remarkable. Flavors are key to build up a complete and diversified product range. In mature markets, consumers are willing to go further regarding taste innovation.  (read more)

-Demand for ethnic cuisines will remain strong in 2020, but expect more regional twists on current ethnic favorites — and on one that’s an old industry standard (read more).

-Health claims only have a place with emerging flavors and cuisines if they can play the role of the best friend to the leading lady — flavor, cuisine…you can’t just slap a health claim on a product, it must come from a sincere place.  It can’t be a marriage of convenience (read more).

-The quest for indulgence is the number one driver for flavor innovation..more than ever, consumers expect the products they eat to be flavorsome…Some products take indulgence one step further and play on combining flavors, offering multisensory experiences to their customers. “Flavor pairing is particularly trendy. This consists of mixing several tastes in one culinary creation…“For example, a bakery product can combine brown and spicy notes. It is also possible to play on both flavor and texture to make a delicious, irresistible treat.” (read more).

-The hottest couples around aren’t on the red carpet, but on the plate, bowl and glass. With Technomic’s recent Flavor Consumer Trend Report showing that a solid 77% of consumers prefer foods that are moderately or very spicy and 62% reporting that they are likely to use it on certain, if not most foods, there is a bumper crop of ideas for pairing hot sauces with foods and beverages (read more).

-Fermentation continues to influence all aspects of menu development, as back-of-house techniques and creativity evolve to keep pace with adventurous palates. Take layered cocktail flavor to the next level with the introduction of fermented infusions, pickled vegetable garnishes and more (more details).

-According to Technomic’s 2019 Center of the Plate: Poultry Consumer Trend Report44% of consumers say they would be interested in trying chicken entrees made with new or unique flavors and sauces. And when it comes to what types of flavors they’re interested indiners say they are likely to order dishes at restaurants at least occasionally if the dishes are savory (44%), tangy (42%), spicy (41%), ethnic, (39%) or smoky (39%). Diners want a variety of flavors with chicken, and working with these, restaurants can come up with enticing entrees and dippable sauces that enliven their menu. Chicken is a versatile fit here as well, as they can pair with dippable sauces that feature those favorite flavors…tangy ranch, smoky barbecue sauce, spicy sriracha mayo or a globally inspired chimichurri aioli (read more).

Glazes and marinades are another way to bring in additional flavor to chicken dishes. Technomic’s 2019 Center of the Plate: Poultry Consumer Trend Report reported that popular glazes or marinades consumers would like to have on their chicken include barbecue (56%), teriyaki (44%), lemon (37%), honey (36%) and bourbon (27%) (read more).

-Some call it hot. Others prefer to say spicy. They are referring to “kick,” that painful, yet pleasurable sensation of the mouth on fire. It’s a sensory experience today’s consumers enjoy that’s intensifying with no signs of abating…kick is what’s driving flavor innovation in meat and poultry, namely sausages, patties and breaded chicken. It’s keeping these products relevant to adventurous meat consumers who have more choices than ever before….consumers are on a big, broad journey of discovery, moving out of their comfort zones to explore new food experiences, with flavor – in particular flavors that provide kick – playing a major part. Brands are leaning towards more remarkable and unusual flavor hybrids, as well as stronger taste experiences (read more).

-For the second half of 2019…more kiwi fruit and pairings with flavors such as strawberry, lime and cucumber….other popular flavors that will continue to be trending this summer are coconut and pineapple, both paired together and separate flavor options. Three very popular summer flavors that we expect to see more of in the next few months are lemon, lime and mango. Lemon and lemonades are complemented by raspberry, strawberry, watermelon, mango, pineapple, fresh mint, blueberry and ginger flavors. Lime flavored applications are also often infused with strawberry, raspberry, mango, watermelon, fresh mint and coconut (read more).

-In the beverage segment, flavor remains a key differentiator and the increasing popularity of plant-based diets and ingredients is introducing bolder flavor notes to the category with earthy flavors and botanical-based beverages taking off including turmeric, saffron, rose and dragonfruit. On the floral side, rose Water and Orange Blossom Water “add the perfect pop of flavor to cold beverages, ice creams and marinades (read more).

-Although millennials and Gen Xers are somewhat more inclined to try new flavor combinations, Baby Boomers tend to eschew new flavors. Still, Baby Boomers continue to have the most buying power and therefore represent an audience that should be targeted with more traditional flavor options (read more).

-As the American consumer base becomes more diverse with increasing Hispanic and Asian populations, the demand for new flavors is continually increasing. One-third of Americans eat ethnic food at least once a week, according to Technomic, and the U.S. is the No. 2 market for global flavors…the proliferation of social media and continued expansion of the average consumers’ culinary horizons through travel — 44% of consumers surveyed said their flavor preferences were driven by travels — has brought the desire for global flavors into the mainstream (read more).

-Simple, creative and forward-thinking touches can take dessert from a standard offering to an impactful and memorable item. Modern strategies like incorporating savory, smoked, spicy and sour flavors into desserts, or using strong visual cues such as tableside theatrics or dramatic plate presentations help move the dessert menu forward while driving purchase intent (read more).

-Broadly speaking, tropical fruit, regional barbecue, botanical and fermented flavors are capturing consumer interest and Instagram feeds. Even the classics … aren’t just the classics anymore…because consumers instead of vanilla want Tahitian vanilla. And instead of chocolate, you’ll see Belgian chocolate, Dutch chocolate, hazelnut chocolate. Something a little different (read more).

continued below…

Recent beverage trends

Recent flavour trends

Recent food trends

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Key points (continued)

-Fruit flavors continue to reign across multiple snacking categories, and tropical varietals add a premium twist (read more).

-Cinnamon was one of the “Pacific Rim Flavors” predicted to dominate in 2019, according to Michelin Guide, and International Taste Solutions also gleaned that “hot and spicy” flavors like cinnamon would soon rise to the top of the food chain (read more).

-Ethnic/global flavors in meat, a trend in upscale restaurants, might end up in food service and retail..for specific flavors, we might be seeing Middle East and African and regional Asian flavors, as well as more traditionally accepted Italian and Mediterranean flavors…Peruvian, Indian and Korean are trending meat flavors at upscale restaurants…Korean has been dabbling at the edges of mainstream for several years now…it was started by Korean-inspired tacos.  The flavors of Korea are coming through in popular culture. Now I think the whole cuisine is ready for prime time. Ethiopian flavors are another global flavor we’re seeing in meats…Berbere seasoning is a great way to incorporate exciting flavors across a number of meat applications. However, finding authentic berbere seasoning can be challenging (read more).

-The sparkling water boom provides a platform for a broad range of custom flavors and combinations.. heightened social media activity related to seltzer, sparkling water and specific brands such as La Croix. Standout flavors may incorporate a cooking or preparation method (toasted coconut, caramelized cherry, grilled apricot), specify a varietal (Meyer lemon, blood orange, alphonso mango), combine fruits and vegetables (cucumber lemon, carrot peach, strawberry rhubarb), or enhance with a botanical or flower (lemongrass, hibiscus, elderflower, sage) (read more).

-With more options on the market today than ever before, the average consumer is more adventurous than past demographics and is always looking to try new things…as consumers seek out flavors they’re less familiar with, limited-edition and specialty products — such as unique natural soda, kombucha and juice offerings in flavors such as Cucumber, Sarsparilla, Strawberry Sage and Mandarin Cardamom — will prove to be successful (read more).

-Raspberry is on the rise as a top flavor in sugar confections and sweet cookies, up 300% and 400%, respectively, in new product launches over the past two years in North America. Featuring sweet, tart and slightly floral notes, raspberry is versatile and may add an “absolutely Instagrammable” pink hue to food and beverage products. “Raspberry has been having a phenomenal run in snacking over the last couple of years,” she said. Consumers rated raspberry as significantly more premium and indulgent when compared to all other berry flavors (read more).

-Traditional flavors, including pumpkin spice, will continue to be an on-trend choice…gingerbread, caramel, pumpkin, rosemary and cinnamon are all classic autumn tonalities. There will always be a place for classic autumn profiles as they remind us of times gone by, like moments shared with family when we were younger, he adds (read more).

-Consumers expect savory and spicy flavors over sweeter profiles in meat snacks, though that does not exclude flavors such as fruit and honey from the application…more traditional meat snack flavors include Worcestershire, steak sauce, barbecue, sweet-heat combinations that may have fruit inclusions, and specific pepper varietals such as jalapeño and ghost pepper (read more).

-Traditional autumnal flavors will remain popular this fall, while other trends seen throughout 2019, including botanicals and citrus, will roll into the new season. As the new school term starts and Halloween, Thanksgiving and Diwali are on the horizon, a new wave of flavors comes to the fore, while the traditional tastes of fall get a modern makeoverconsumers are continuing to seek indulgent and premium ingredients. In the US market, today’s consumers are more advanced than ever and know more about food and beverages than at any other time in history…that means that they are demanding products that are inherently healthy or better for you with higher-quality ingredients. When they want to indulge, they want to go all-out with premium ingredients and over-the-top concepts (read more).

There’s a case for saying that pink was the catalyst for the flavour revival in alcohol. Over the past couple of years, the market has been flooded by dozens of pink spirit offers and we have seen the pink effect coming through in other categories, such as cider. The boundaries are increasingly blurring and new and unusual flavours are appearing across most sectors of the off-trade (read more).

-Everyone is seeking experiences of other global cuisines…this is evident by the growth of Italian dishes in China or the onward march of Indian-inspired cuisine in Europe. In every case, the consumer preference is for natural flavors and the definition of natural is evolving to meet that expectation…in the present market, global consumers are looking for authenticity in recipes and to be offered a “new experience” when tasting new and unfamiliar foods for the first time. Although we use the term ‘ethnic’ in the Western world, we must look at the perspective of the emerging markets (read more).

-Beverage-inspired flavors are spilling over into snacking categories, including sugar confections, frozen desserts, chocolate confections and snack bars. Top coffee flavors include espresso, mocha, macchiato and peppermint mocha, and top alcohol flavors are whiskey, bourbon, rum, mojito, piña colada and stout (read more).

1. Fusion of flavours

-Consumers from mature markets are particularly fond of flavor trends. “In the US, the variety of flavors that a brand can offer is remarkable…flavors are key to build up a complete and diversified product range. In mature markets, consumers are willing to go further regarding taste innovation. In the US, bakery-inspired notes are particularly popular (full article).

-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 (read more).

Examples: Açaí berry + strawberry | blue raspberry | guava + hibiscus + tangerine | lavender, ginger & honey | Lulo + Persian lime | Lychee + mandarin + yuzu | Pear + raspberry + rose | Rhubarb + strawberry + guava | Sea buckthorn berry + mango | Waternapple | Ruby grapefruit + yuzu |Cookies & cream + caramel, cardamom + coffee (Turkish coffee), pineapple + hibiscus, dirty chai (coffee + chai), peanut butter + chocolate, peanut butter + honey, almond butter + chocolate, macadamia + white chocolate, coffee + caramel fudge, raspberry + baobab,  caramel + almond, honey + salted Caramel, vanilla + rose, vanilla + hibiscus, vanilla + orange blossom, vanilla + lavender, pandan + black garlic, vanilla + various (such as banana, raspberry, coconut, cherry, coffee, caramel, maple…),  spiced watermelon rosé, blueberry vanilla calamansi, bacon & bourbon, grapefruit + coconut, blackberry chai, peach ginger, and pomegranate hibiscus, Strawberry Sage, Mandarin Cardamom, lime and rose, blueberries and lavender, apple and violet, cucumber lemon, carrot peach, strawberry rhubarb, lemon-thyme, citrus & ginger, citrus & pineapple, lime & chili, pink grapefruit & green tea, citrus & herb bitters and basil-lemonade, Gochujang tzatziki, sriracha caramel.

Mexican and Southeast Asian cuisine, French with Scandinavian flavors, Cantonese Chinese and Peruvian (or Chifa) and American South with Japanese.

In the spotlight: Acai, guava & strawberry

Global flavor fusion dominates drink trends

Raspana or Banberry?

Dragonapple?

Clean fusion throughout the day: Dawn releases 2020 food trends

Orple or apange?

Coffee cola

Lemwi or Kimon?

Pineamelon or Waternapple?

Limed pear?

2. Multisensory flavour experiences

-Multisensory is an often misused buzzword that is frequently associated with food & beverages. Flavour systems are multisensory by default, since smell & taste are interrelated. However, flavours can also contribute other sensory attributes, such as hot & cold sensations. These elements can enhance a flavour profile,  bring more complexity & produce added sensations to a variety of applications. The synergy between hot & cold sensations is also quite interesting because they can partially cancel each other out & at low levels, they take time to be properly perceived.

-Beyond improving the taste of traditional food dishes, umami is one characteristic that can affect the success of meat alternatives and its importance in increasing savory taste will continue (read more). 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 our 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 (read more).

-The consumer will search more for a sensory experience, a trip, an emotion and a novelty that goes through the taste, the concept and the packaging…through our flavors, we seek to bring the consumer a real promise, reassuring and surprising (read more).

Examples: salt everything (such as salted caramel, salted chocolate, salted maple syrup, salted spice etc…), sour flavours such as rhubarb, tamarind, green mango & apple cider vinegar, strawberry ice lava, iced pepper.

In the spotlight: multisensory mango or guava flavour

Multisensory indulgence through fusion flavours

Recent multisensory trends

Novotaste’s multisensory laboratory

Multisensory flavours

3. Beyond Mocktails (booze flavours in everything)

-The initial mocktail craze is over & it has mutated into various forms. Whether real alcohol is used or not, flavours related to alcohol, such as spirits, wines, elixirs, cocktails etc…are being added to a variety of applications. A good example of this 7-Eleven’s three new, limited-time offer (LTO) bakery items inspired by cocktail favorites (full article).

Examples: Vermouth, mezcal, baiju, shōchū, soju, tequila, artisinal gin, aged rum, late bottle vintage porto, rosé, fruity wines, rum raisin, spicy mojito, bourbon, tonics, bitters, elixers, mule variations, hibiscus bellini, cranberry cosmo, melon mojito, whiskey, Irish cream brownie, rum tres leches, bourbon vanilla bean truffle, stout chocolate pretzel crunch and bourbon praline pecan, aperol spritz, aged cognac XO, aged rum, old fashioned.

In the spotlight: Artisanal gin & tonic flavour

Booze-inspired flavors trending in food

Mocktails, low-alcohol cocktails bring innovation to beverages

Flavour solutions for mocktails, alcohol, CBD beverages & various food applications

Wine-inspired flavours

Aged Spirit & Wine Flavour Systems

Recent beverage trends

4. Hot & spicy

-Some of us can’t get enough heat & there are many more that are becoming accustomed & expecting some heat in their food & beverages. As spicy is becoming mainstream, we are seeing more traditional & unique blends of flavour profiles with some spicy elements. Jalapeno, chili & cayenne & chipotle are have become accepted, but there is a curiousness for other varieties of peppers & specific spice blends originating from various geographical locations.

-Spicy condiments are hot in more ways than one. Consumers are seeking bold flavors from around the world that allow them to experience new flavor sensations, and restaurants can leverage this trend by creating signature sauces and condiments with a spicy kick. Fifty percent of consumers overall prefer very spicy sauces, according to Technomic’s recent Flavor Consumer Trend Report, and the trend is even more pronounced among millennials (59%) and men (58%).  Add to that the fact that 59% of consumers say they try new menu items to discover new flavors, and the stage is set for operators to experiment with creative condiments that deliver new and robust taste sensations (read more).

Examples: Spicy mango, spicy guava, schug, spicy cinnamon, gochujang, piri piri, espelette, hatch chile peppers, tabasco, harissa, sweet & sour chipotle, ginger wasabi, Caribbean jerk spice, spicy peanut butter, hell’s fire.

In the spotlight: Novo hot pepper

Discover the unique taste of the novo hot pepper

Kicking up the heat in meat

Operators turn up the heat with spicy flavors

Introducing schug, the spiciest food trend of 2019

14 Favourite Spice Blends From Across The Globe

Why the Hot & Spicy Food Trend is an Exciting Opportunity

5. Botanicals, extracts & essential oils

-Citrus goes well with slightly hot spicy notes such as ginger, pepper or with some fresh tastes such as mint, cucumber and fennel. Also combinations of floral extracts – lavender, rose, elderflower, orange blossom with different citrus flavors, are popular for alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Fresh, floral or vegetal notes and spicy, hot notes give some more zest to traditional tastes and are quite popular with today’s consumers (read more).

-Teas & coffees remain popular

Examples: Rose, bergamot, pine, ginger, juniper, “blossoms”, beetroot, yuzu, Persian lime, lavender + lemon, oak extract, cocoa extract, pink peppercorn, Sevillian orange peel Himalayan coriander, elder flower, turmeric, citrus blossoms (pomelo, lemon, Persian lime & grapefruit), calamansi, lavender black pepper, herbal cola, apricots + honey & pepper, basil + strawberry &/or watermelon, ginger + mango or passion fruit, rosemary limonade, clove + orange & pear, cinnamon + banana + cherry, juniper + lemon + cranberry, orange + fennel, blueberry + mint, traditional root beer, orris root + raspberry, strawberry + lime + black pepper, pineapple + sage.

In the spotlight: yuzu + lavender

Essential Oil Solutions

Essential oils & extracts as natural flavour alternatives

Natural food-grade scents (edible scent)

SCIENCE CONFIRMS that smelling LEMON/LAVENDER can make you feel slim & relaxed

The Chemical Roots Behind Your Favorite Bitters

Limed! Various lime flavour pairings

6. International & authentic

“Today’s consumers regard themselves as world citizens and are increasingly interested in diverse flavors inspired by foreign cuisines, in particular, Southeast Asian, East Asian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern…chili peppers are often a part of authentic recipes….authenticity includes specificity. In many instances it’s no longer enough to refer to a food as spicy or hot. Consumers want to better understand the origin of the kick, including the chili’s flavor profile. Marketers are starting to call out the chili pepper’s name in prepared meat and poultry, often describing its level of heat and flavor…adventurous consumers worldwide are embracing chilis and spices…they are searching for more intense heat experiences, regional authenticity and experimentation (full article).

-Particularly the younger generations – are exposing themselves to authentic ethnic cuisines as there is a growing interest in new and exotic eating experiences and flavors..global cuisines introduce consumers to regional spices, herbs, fruits or vegetables. They range from savory dishes and exotic beverages to decadent desserts. Flavor inspirations are predicted to be drawn from authentic Japanese, Korean, Filipino, African and Middle Eastern cuisines (read more).

-Authenticity defines Ethnicity. Ethnic flavours are the flavours extracted from spices are believed to be of the cultural and traditional importance of a region. Different spices have different flavours; from enhancing the taste to promoting health benefits, spices serve you with the best of all. Indian spices such as turmeric, clove, cinnamon etc. are appreciated globally for their distinct taste and amazing health benefits. India, the Middle Eastern countries, Korea, Brazil and a lot many regions exhibit a wide range of ethnic flavours which occur in their habitat naturally (read more).

-In savory snacking, regional barbecue flavors are on fire…there is interest in Kansas City, Memphis, Texas and Hawaiian styles. “What’s coming up next?…This is what’s trending in restaurants — Alabama white, a mayo-based barbecue, and Carolina sweet…International barbecue styles may inspire snack flavor innovation, she said, suggesting such examples as Mexican barbacoa, South African braai, New Zealand hangi and Filipino lechon. The point is, the innovation is nonstop with barbecue. (read more).

-Global flavors always seem to be interesting to consumers and might include Cajun, harissa, piri piri and sriracha among others..additionally, with the rise in popularity of premium products with a story, consumers are interested in understanding the culinary technique behind the flavor such as fire-roasted garlic, caramelized onion and sautéed sweet onion (read more).

-Carob, baklava, fig and rum and raisin are just a few of the potential Mediterranean flavour trends that could enter the sports nutrition market in 2020 and beyond, according to a new report from taste experts. North and East African flavors, exotic fruits and herbs, Korean staples and spices from Southeast Asia are some of the latest trends emerging in the market. One particular emerging ingredient is coriander or cilantro (read more).

-Mediterranean flavours from Italy or Spain like rosemary, basil or garlic have been in the market for a long time now. The next two years, though, will see a different range of Mediterranean flavourings being launched. This time, it will be flavourings from the Eastern Mediterranean…we will see pistachio, olive oil, watermelon, date or mint will be used in bread, biscuits, drinks, cereals and dairy (read more).

-Over the last few years, we’ve seen Indian ingredients such as cardamom, coriander, curry and garam masala emerge…Indian food is ripe for the American palate and has created the A Passage to India collection (read more).

Popular cuisines: Korean, Japanese, Mediterranean Arabic, Levantine (mainly Lebanese, Israeli, Syrian & Turkish), Region-specific: Mexican, Indian

Examples: -S’chug, chinese five spice, harissa, halvah, falafel spice mix, chimichurri, pandan, sumac, cardamom, truffles, sesame, guanabana, lulo, tahini, za’atar, pickled & fermented foods, global cheeses, rose water, orange blossom, black sesame, green guava, green mango, passionfruit, hibiscus, matcha, dirty chai (coffee + chai), acai, pomegranate molasses, baobab, lac St-jean blueberries, rambutan, tamarind, kumquat, caraway, dragon fruit, cumin, chorizo, Pho, garam marala, teriyaki, regional &/or artisanal honey profiles.

In the spotlight: Chorizo (vegan)

Forecast 2020: regional twists on ethnic favorites

Hibiscus-inspired flavours

International flavors top US snack preferences, study finds

Saffron flavour pairings

7. Indulgence

-The quest for indulgence is the number one driver for flavor innovation…more than ever, consumers expect the products they eat to be flavorsome (full article).

-As the globe shrinks and the palette of available flavors grows, somehow we still return to the transportive, comforting tastes of years past. The throwback taste du jour, the Dreamsicle—an orange-and-vanilla popsicle throwback—has taken the beverage world by storm…not all brands are going the “hot flavor” route with the drinks menu. Starbucks actually decreased the number of promotional LTOs offered last year by 30% compared to 2017, citing a lack of sustained growth in its April 2018 earnings call. While the brand still features unique flavored drinks such as the Crystal Ball Frappuccino and seasonal tent poles such as the Pumpkin Spice Latte and S’mores Frappuccino, it has shifted focus back to core beverages, leveraging platforms with broader appeal. For instance, lighter, sweeter Blonde Espresso—initially slated for just a six-week run—can be applied to any existing espresso-based beverage. (read more).

-Following with the natural and healthy market move, earthy flavours are on the rise too. Mushroom flavours make us recall the pleasure of sniffing the earthy air that rises up after it rains. Shiitake, truffle or porcini flavours will be increasingly seen in delicatessen breads and buns, savoury biscuits or crisps (read more).

Examples: dark chocolate, salted caramel, creamy fruit or yogurt + fruit, fudge brownie, unique butters, nutella types, saffron, truffle, truffled sheese & champagne, cookie dough, chocolate brownie, icy lemon cake, cotton candy, marshmallow, raspberry chocolate, raspberry yogurt, cinnamon roll & cream, orange creamsicle truffle, mango creamsicle, maple cream cake.

In the spotlight: Truffle, with caramelized onion & garlic, with hints of red wine.

8. Vive la différence (unique, creative & interesting flavour profiles)

-Special seasonal and limited editions of flavour combinations of fruits and flowers can bring the profits of beverage producers to fruition. In practice, we find drinks such as “ice tea with honey and rose” or “vanilla-lavender-latte”. Also in demand are pairings such as raspberry rose, watermelon hibiscus, strawberry cherry blossom, blueberry lavender or blackberry elderberry, all of which make new taste experiences possible (read more).

Examples: old-fashioned’ fermented foods, drinking vinegars, horseradish + honey, kimchi and kombucha, as well as newer fermented foods derived from soybeans, including miso,” beets, cheese + coffee, pumpkin spice sweet potato fries, carrot lemonade, rosemary + caramel, yuzu + mint, pear + fennel and raspberry + pink peppercorn, caramelized turnip & yuzu, kefir Lime, sicilian lemon, arctic raspberry, pickles & oreos, rose ginger, zucchini & vanilla, cardamom pistachio, amaretto toffee, parsnip & lemon cake, exotic or unusual seeds, pickles & vanilla, lemon yuzu & turmeric, coffee lemonade, earl grey + white peach, hibiscus chai, cucumber mint rosewater, Quebec lumberjack, thyme limeade

In the spotlight: Yuzu & parsnip

Wild flavour profiles

9. Flavours for vegan applications (& other clean-label options)

-People want better-for-you foods, and they increasingly are turning to plant-based items. They want to discover new food experiences, and they are “connected to the plate” or are using technology like social media to share their food experiences…transparency, clean label and specific diets are examples of better-for-you eating…(full article)

-Today’s consumers want to live healthier, and many see a connection between products that are good for their own health and those that are good for the planet…this is driving a behavioral shift among consumers to purchase products with cleaner labels, traceable sourcing, and sustainable practices, while seeking products that have functional health benefits..consumers are looking to align their food and beverage choices with their wellness goals, which often include seeking out reduced-sugar, gluten-free, reduced-calorie or plant-based food and drink options (full article).

Examples: vegan meat & seafood flavours, such as smokey beef BBQ, roast beef, roast chicken, hazelnut (containing no allergens), parmesan, mozzarella, cheddar & various other cheeses, cream enhancers, butter enhancers, BBQ sauces,

In the spotlight: bbq chicken fat

Flavour solutions for vegan applications

A fatty taste WITHOUT fat or calories

Meat, fish & sea food flavour solutions for vegan applications

Reduce butter & sugar with our butter-sweetness enhancer

Dairy-free cheese flavours

10. Twists on classic flavours

-Leveraging a flavor strategy that has the ability to attract consumers of all ages is an important tactic today. Over the past decade, the foodservice industry has been almost entirely focused on one generation: Millennials. Of course, there was good reason to be so fixated on one demographic. It was, at the time, the largest—surpassing Baby Boomers—with a tremendous potential spending power and a unique emphasis on the power of food and its role in the generation’s identity. In 2019, Gen Z is poised to outnumber Millennials and will represent 32 percent of the total population (see full article).

Examples: coffee (with added botanicals, tea, flavour, spice or carbonation), pumpkin & spice combined with chocolate, caramel or yogurt. hazelnut butter & hibiscus strawberry jelly (no allergens), Gingerale or ginger beer with various dessert or fruit flavours. spicy maple, smoked ingredients, dishes or beverages, strawberry rhubarb hibiscus lemonade, gin & rosé tonic, carrot birthday cake, fruity gin, Hawaiian daiquiri, violet cosmo, orange & apple spice, pumpkin pesto, creamy goat cheese crème brûlée, cinnamon cappuccino, smoked maple cream, caramelized white peach, churro oreo, smoked ginger beer, alternative nut butters.

In the spotlight: Açaí rhubarb pie

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Personalized 2020 trendy flavour kits

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Request a 2020 trendy flavour kit
Request a trendy flavour today!2020 Flavour, food & beverage trends

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