What’s so good about exotic flavors? Or to put it another way: What makes exotic flavors so good?
Ingredient suppliers say three of the fastest-developing flavor categories are ethnic flavors, fruit flavors and spices — with, obviously, some overlap between the first and the other two. To some extent, the newest entries in these categories are actually older ones getting fresh attention. But more prevalent in all three are flavors unfamiliar to most Americans, many of them sourced from far away.
In many cases, new flavors enter the American retail mainstream through the time-honored path of foodservice, especially small restaurants, often ethnic-themed. Use what’s happening on menus as a forward-looking innovation tool….
“Tropical fruits are gaining impact, growing from a simple pineapple to mango, passionfruit, soursop, kiwi, lychee, jackfruit and others.”
Some of the trendiest spices are familiar ones, such as ginger, cinnamon and clove. Other hot spices, often literally so, are less familiar to American consumers. They include cascabel, urfa beber and Aleppo chili; Middle Eastern flavors like za’atar, berbere, ras al hanout and shawarma; and Korean flavors kimchi, gochujung, soju and gochujaru.
Recent products that include exotic spices include: honeydew jalapeno and pineapple turmeric vinegar drinks from Element [Shrub] Products (www.elementshrub.com); Kitchen & Love cauliflower meal with harissa from Cucina & Amore (www.cucinaandamore.com); and ghee with turmeric, arjuna and other spices, from Pure Indian Foods (www.pureindianfoods.com).
When it comes to ethnic cuisine, spices are often as important as main ingredients and techniques. As noted above, Middle Eastern and Asian, especially Korean, flavors are trending.
“Today’s consumers are a diverse and growing multicultural mix of individuals,”. “Multicultural consumers and the younger generation are driving new flavor profiles. We continue to see influences from Asia and the Middle East, and more recently from Cuba and Brazil…& horchata, sriracha maple, toasted coconut flan, za’atar and brigadeiro…..
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