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Kombucha stock photo by SewCream/Shutterstock

Consumers will crave fermented, Indian, Japanese and Mediterranean flavors in 2020

By Rieva Lesonsky

What flavors will be hot going into 2020? Mintel, a leading global market intelligence agency, recently spotlighted five new consumer trends impacting the food and drink industry, from dishes on restaurant menus to products on store shelves. Here are their flavor predictions.

“[Americans are] seeking out ingredients that provide sustenance for healthy eating,” Mintel reports. But a balanced diet isn’t all consumers are concerned about. They’re looking for flavors and “ingredients that will feed the mind, body, and soul.”

“We’re seeing Ayurvedic-inspired ingredients, adaptogens and botanical flavors appearing in more packaged foods and drinks,” says Melanie Zanoza Bartelme, Global Food Analyst at Mintel. “At the same time, foodservice operators are getting creative with these flavors and ingredients in menu items. And it’s all in the name of stress release.”

Apparently fermented foods fit the bill here. “We’re seeing restaurants and retail brands turn to lesser-known or ‘old-fashioned’ fermented foods, like drinking vinegars, kimchi and kombucha, as well as newer fermented foods derived from soybeans, including miso,” says Bartelme, who also expects the popularity of prebiotics to grow over the coming years.

Building on Mintel’s 2018 Flavor Trends, international flavors from the Eastern Mediterranean, India and Japan are being incorporated into dishes and products in the U.S. “Americans are widely familiar with staple Middle Eastern foods like hummus, falafel, and zhug [and] because of this, consumers are becoming more receptive to regional, specialized flavors from specific Eastern Mediterranean locations like Israel, Yemen, Lebanon, and Syria,” explains Amanda Topper, Associate Director, Foodservice Research at Mintel.

There’s still “significant opportunity for dishes and products that explore the regional specialties of India,” says Topper. Japanese foods, such as sushi, ramen and matcha, are becoming increasingly popular on social media due to their uniquely “Instagrammable” colors, formats and presentation on the plate. Topper predicts we’ll see “an even greater focus on Japanese flavors and ingredients” as more Americans see Japanese street food in the media.

Mintel’s 2019 Flavor and Ingredient Trends is available for free download here.

Source: Flavor Forecast: What Flavors Consumers Will Crave in 2020

Sneak-peek at 2020 flavor trends