Innovation is being driven through a series of top trends including:
- Trust & Transparency: Consumer desire for clean, natural food labels that they can read and understand.
- Sustainability: Consumers are looking for more sustainable ways of living and care about where their food products are coming from.
- Plant Forward: The drive toward more plant forward, alternative protein sources such as soy, nuts and even insects. The rise of plant alternatives in meat (Beyond Meat, Impossible burger) and plant-based milk (oat milk, almond milk, pea milk)
- Sensorial Food Experiences: We see the rise of experiential food experiences – local farmers markets, food and sensorial museums, e.g., Museum of Ice Cream. Consumers are valuing experiences over “things.”
- Can’t cook/won’t cook: We see a rise in food and meal preparation services and meal delivery (Hello Fresh and Uber eats) and exciting new food experiences, e.g., food trucks. So while consumers don’t have the time (or willingness) to cook, they are more well-traveled and exposed to different food experiences than ever before, so the bar is high. There is a desire for richer and authentic food experiences, but fast.
- Customization: Consumers are looking for personalized experiences. We see a rise in personalized nutrition, for example.
“There is a growing engagement in ethnic foods; real, rich and authentic, not the locally adapted version. Also, superfoods, e.g., turmeric in everything from an apple cider vinegar shot to smoothie and charcoal (charcoal ice cream and charcoal tea),” Stanton says.
“Alternative plant-based milk is gaining momentum. However, in this emerging category, consumers are sticking to the familiar chocolate and vanilla. These traditional flavors remain strong and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.”
“As the days shorten, the chill in the air is no longer a welcome relief from the days’ sweltering temperatures, but instead a signal for the realization of the morphing seasons. With autumn, then winter, approaching, consumers’ instinct for nesting elevates their desire for comfort in their lives as well as in their foods and beverages.”
This is when spices, such as cardamom, ginger and nutmeg conjure up memories of fresh-from-the-oven baked goods deliciously blending with the apples, plums, quinces, strawberry with rhubarb or pears used in these creations, she notes.
“These perennial favorites exude a warmth to offset the dipping temperatures outside similar to snuggling near a cozy fireplace with a steady fire. Comfort can also be found in the sweet brown attributes of maple, fig, blackberry, persimmon, apricot and other dark berries. The richness and depth of these profiles satisfy the need for indulgence with just a touch of luxury.”
“Finally, to counterbalance the rich warmth of the previously mentioned food, tart and acidic fruits, such as blood oranges, Meyer lemons, pomegranates and cranberries, provide a complementing brightness.”
Some 2018 Trends:
Shiso: Minty hints of cumin, clove and citrus. Perfect for Asian-inspired dishes and products.
Hyssop: A grown-ups herb with an intense, complex flavor, that evokes a spring meadow with its floral character.
Sorel: Fresh, tangy with a sour green apple profile. It makes a great cocktail.
Epazote: Popular in Mexican cuisine, this has a strong tarragon-like profile.
Ethnic flavor trends
Recently, at the IFT Food Expo in Chicago, Innova Market Insights presented ethnic flavor trends, among others, at its Taste the Trend pavilion. The market researcher has reported an average annual growth of 20 percent in food and beverages launches with global flavors (Global, 2013-2017), with growth in platforms such as chili, herb and floral flavors.
With the plant-based trend still going strong, consumers are looking for innovative ways to take the benefits of plants into their daily lives. According to Innova Market Insights, there has never been so much variety and spread in the choice of authentic cuisines around today’s connected world and that has led consumers of all ages to become more knowledgeable of other cultures, creating an opening for visually appealing products with high authenticity and specific ingredients from around the world.
“Further growth of world flavors is expected as globalization has sparked the consumer’s curiosity to discover new food and beverage products,” Irene Kersbergen, Market Analyst at Innova Market Insights, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
“Brands could drive deeper connections with the adventurous consumer by satisfying their curiosity through these exotic world flavors, but also by presenting new food experiences and telling the unique story behind the product.”
Read more about Innova Market Insights tipping overseas influences, plant goodness and indulgence as key drivers here.