Tastes of a new world? Pandemic has evoked interest in “geo-based flavors” | Food Ingredients First

With many consumers’ travel plans this summer being curtailed, there is a rise in “geo-based taste desires.” People unable to travel will want to experience the taste of other national cuisines to give them a sense of being away, according to the taste and nutrition company. “International flavors will include tropical notes such dragon fruit, mangosteen, natsumikan, citrus, yuzu, matcha and acai,” Coralie Garcia-Perrin, tells FoodIngredientsFirst, underscoring that the unexpected events of 2020 have led to an “interesting phenomenon in the world of flavors.”

With the influence of the COVID-19 virus and the subsequent lockdowns implemented all over the world, some different trends are emerging this summer, according to Garcia-Perrin. “Some were identified in our Global Taste Trends 2020 report, but others are newly emerging due to these unexpected circumstances.”

International; yet familiar 
According to Garcia-Perrin, consumers will not only look for international flavors, but also for familiar fruits and botanicals that they recognize, which are grown locally and seasonally. “Depending on the region, these familiar flavors could include strawberry, raspberry, grape, mango and papaya,” she says, elaborating on the rise in “geo-based taste desires.”

International flavors will include tropical notes such dragon fruit, mangosteen, natsumikan, citrus, yuzu, matcha and acai. Local mindful connections will continue to be important, Garcia-Perrin affirms. “Treating oneself is always on-trend, and this summer – more than ever – consumers will go for indulgent tastes as comfort foods.” All F&B applications will benefit from those emerging trends at different levels as new consumer desires and interests emerge over the summer, she reveals.

In beverages, Garcia-Perrin flags a rise in products developed to target consumers that want to take a proactive approach to health and personal wellness, she explains.

Moreover, dairy products will benefit from the growing demand for indulgence, which is more on-trend than ever before. “It’s certainly a time to treat ourselves, and product developers respond with dairy beverages that are smooth and tasty,” says Garcia-Perrin.

Emerging flavors 
Taste Charts are composed of year-round research, allowing predictions to be made on new and unexpected flavors emerging globally.

“Some of the new sweet flavors we’ve discovered for 2020 include interesting choices such as lingonberry, grass jelly, houjicha, Hyuuga Natsu citrus, purple rice and rice wine,” notes Garcia-Perrin. Lingonberry, which is an arctic berry, is suitable for jams and preserves, and has an astringent and sour taste similar to that of cranberry, she recalls.

Hojicha is a Japanese green tea distinctive from other Japanese green teas because it is roasted in a porcelain pot over charcoal at high temperatures. Garcia-Perrin says that it alters its leaf color from green to reddish-brown. “It tastes bolder and has a rich, smoky, and naturally sweet flavor. All bitterness is removed from hojicha when the green tea leaves are roasted,” she adds.

Meanwhile, Ruby chocolate will continue to make waves in 2020 following its launch by Barry Callebaut in 2017. “The taste of ruby chocolate has been described as slightly sweet and sour. It is referred to as a combination of white chocolate and raspberries,” Garcia-Perrin says.

In the snacking arena, Za’atar, seaweed, bird’s eye chili, carom, edamame and shichimi are exciting flavors to follow. “Za’atar is the name of a Middle Eastern spice mixture that includes the herb hyssop, along with toasted sesame seeds, dried sumac, often salt as well as other spices such as oregano, basil, thyme and savory that has a woodsy, herbal and citrusy flavor,” she reveals.

Carom is an Indian herb commonly dry-roasted or fried in clarified butter to allow the spice to develop a more subtle and complex aroma. Terms used to describe the flavor include “spicy” and “sweet.” According to Garcia-Perrin, experts compare its flavor to that of oregano and cumin, but with a “distinctive assertiveness.”

Also, shichimi, a common Japanese spice mixture containing seven ingredients and used to flavor soups, noodle dishes, meats and seafood, is expected to attract attention this summer, says Garcia-Perrin. “It contains roasted orange peel, black and white sesame seed, hemp, poppy seed, ginger and seaweed.”

In the beverage sector, intriguing tastes come to the fore, such as marjoram, moringa, banana blossom, lion’s mane, manuka honey, purple rice, cajeta, horchata, sumac and quince.

“Horchata is a traditional Spanish drink [horchata de chufa] made from the roots of cyperus and is similar to milk, with an almond-sweet taste,” continues Garcia-Perrin.

“Horchata is a name given to various kinds of plant-based milk beverages made from many different bases including rice or sweetened tiger nuts. It can be served either hot or cold or even as a flavor in other beverages. Horchata tastes sweet and creamy, with a smooth texture, and has a flavor that is reminiscent of rice pudding. The sweetness of horchata depends on how much sugar and vanilla are used,” she adds.

Moringa has numerous applications in cooking. Edible parts of the plant include the whole leaves (leaflets, stalks and stems); the immature, green fruits or seed pods; the fragrant flowers; and the young seeds and roots. “Moringa tastes like matcha that has been spiked with notes of spirulina-like blue-green algae. When added to water, the light powder dissolves easily, providing a distinctly ‘green’ flavor that is bitter and slightly sweet. Dried moringa leaf powder can also be sprinkled into smoothies, yogurts, and juices,” Garcia-Perrin elaborates.

Furthermore, quince, a fruit similar in appearance to pears and bright golden-yellow, is tipped for growth. The fruit can be used as a food in pies, jams, jellies, and drinks, and it is often fermented into a cider-like beverage. The quince’s aroma is spicy and complex, with hints of apple, pear, and citrus and it offers a sweet, slightly piquant flavor, says Garcia-Perrin.

Savory flavors from Asia

In savory flavors, hijiki seaweed, gochujang, togarashi, furikake, and sambal oelek are new tastes to keep an eye on in NPD.
In savory flavors, herongyang, hijiki seaweed, kung pao mentaiko, sukiyaki, zhug, gochugaru, gochujang, togarashi, furikake, and sambal oelek are new tastes to keep an eye on in NPD, she flags.

“Hijiki is a brown sea vegetable found wild on coastlines in Northern Asian countries such as Korea, Japan and China,” she details. “To prepare dried hijiki for cooking, it is first soaked in water then cooked with ingredients like soy sauce and sugar to make a dish. Hijiki has an umami-rich, mushroom-like taste and quality that its greener counterparts do not.”

“Furikake is a dry Japanese seasoning that typically consists of a mixture of dried fish, sesame seeds, chopped seaweed, sugar, salt and monosodium glutamate. It is often brightly colored and flaky and can have a slight fish or seafood flavoring and is sometimes spicy.” It is commonly sprinkled on top of cooked rice, vegetables and baked or fried fish and used in mixed snacks.

“Furikake can be considered the salt and pepper of Japan,” continues Garcia-Perrin. This crunchy, salty, nutty, earthy, briny topping that tastes slightly of seafood is a great all-purpose seasoning for rice, seafood, snacks and more.”

Finally, sambal oelek is a spicy Southeast Asian chili sauce made from hot red chili peppers, salt and sometimes vinegar. Sambal is an Indonesian term that refers to a sauce made with chili peppers and can include a variety of secondary ingredients.

“While the ingredients lists are simple and similar, there is a definite taste difference between sriracha and sambal oelek. Sriracha tends to be sweeter with subtle garlic undertones, whereas sambal oelek relies on the chili pepper flavor itself as well as a touch more vinegar,” Garcia-Perrin concludes.

By Elizabeth Green 

Source: Tastes of a new world? Kerry says pandemic has evoked interest in “geo-based flavors”