Fruit flavors are expected to dominate, along with international cuisines and warming spices, according to the UK-based flavors company International Taste Solutions (ITS). As part of the drive to pinpoint flavor trends for the future, the company has carried out intensive market research, which enables ITS to advise customers on emerging flavors and capitalize on market opportunities in this space for the coming year.
“Fruit flavors have also been making their way into products that have historically been the domain of creamy flavors, a good example of this fruit in coffee flavors,” Adam Day, Head of Sales and Marketing at ITS, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
Fruit flavors will dominate the summer flavor trends mainly thanks to the citrus and Eastern Mediterranean categories. Watermelon, cucumber and mint will help bring a refreshing twist to flavors this summer, he notes.
According to Day, the rise of yuzu, for example, continues with consumers becoming more accustomed to its differing notes. “We expect to see more refined citrus types such as blood orange and tangerine flavors, but also citrus notes that blend with unconventional notes to create a more unique flavor experience,” he says.
Consumers are more willing to try new flavors and foods – a trend certain to drive innovation and flavor in directions previously unsought.
“Flavor combinations are huge in food and beverages industries at the moment and only look to get more popular,” he continues. “By mixing flavors, you can add value and interest to a product. It also helps to bring attention to new obscure flavors, by mixing them with current and popular flavors.”
According to Day, ITS trends enable food innovation and development teams to deliver new and exciting products to market. “What we love most about delivering our forecast is the diverse audience that can range from small start-ups to large multinationals,” he says.
Moreover, social media has helped flavor trends spread much quicker than traditional methods. “Social media platforms like Instagram bring flavors and foods to life and can be endorsed easily by influencers and brands,” says Day. “The internet, in general, brings the globe together and helps trends spread from country to country much quicker. We have recently set up our own Instagram account to help engage with the growing amount of food brands using the platform and share our solutions,” he adds.
The main flavor trends on the radar that will emerge during 2019/20, are as follows:
Travel the World
In a trend mirroring Innova Market Insights’ top pick of 2019 – The Adventurous Consumer – ITS notes that consumers want to travel the world through food. The amount of restaurants offering world cuisines is increasing globally and supermarkets are listing more options for “world food.” During the next two years, Italian spices and flavors are expected to grow, says ITS, alongside Indian cuisines and Chinese flavors.
ITS has pegged berry flavors as undoubtedly on trend. It explains that berries are highly nutritional and healthy; they work well in many food and beverage applications and are attractive to the eye, which makes them “Instagrammable” and shareable on digital platforms. “Out with the old, in the with new,” it’s not just about strawberries, raspberries or blueberries, but also new, more exotic varieties such as açai and goji berries, says the company.
Consumers dream of being on vacation all year round and tropical flavors are often favorites, especially during the summer months. ITS expects to see passion fruit, mango, guava, jackfruit and papaya popping up more frequently in drinks, bakery, snacks and sports nutrition applications.
Green Is Go
Healthy eating trends are here to stay and their color is definitely green, says ITS. Green vegetables, green fruits and anything naturally green fits in here, including herbs and spices. Their fresh and natural appeal will make the product a success, notes ITS, whether in a shake, a cereal bar or yogurt. Cucumber, kiwi, spinach, avocado, green tea and even basil are welcome in this space.
Room for Mushroom
Following the natural and healthy market move, earthy flavors are also on the rise, says ITS. Shiitake, truffle or porcini flavors will be increasingly seen in delicatessen bread and buns, savory biscuits or crisps this coming year.
Citrus is Back
Lemon and especially lime are on trend, and so are tangerine, orange and mandarin. Citrus is continually appearing in many different applications, which will increase even more during 2019-20, the company predicts. Yogurt, milkshakes, bars, sports nutrition gels and powders, and even crisps will include citrus flavors.
Mediterranean Goes East
Mediterranean flavors from Italy or Spain such as rosemary, basil or garlic have been in the market for a long time. Over the next two years, ITS notes that we will see a different range of Mediterranean flavorings being launched. This time, it will be flavorings from the Eastern Mediterranean, such as pistachio, olive oil, watermelon, date or mint, being used more often in bread, biscuits, drinks, cereals and dairy.
The aim to renew product ranges and to surprise the audience encourages brands to launch seasonal products, which are very welcome by consumers. The winter season is ideal for warming spices like pumpkin spice, orange spice, gingerbread or apple spice. ITS says these flavors will be seen in hot drinks, cereal bars, biscuits, dairy and sports nutrition applications.
Consumers are looking for new and exciting experiences, even when they eat. Following this trend, ITS expects there to be more products aiming for a temperature or texture shock. Hot spices combined with sour flavors, popping candy or extreme combinations will be seen within this category, notes the company.
By Elizabeth Green