Kerry has released a report delivering insights about the rise of emerging flavors in the US and Canada, such as butter chicken, miso, black garlic, pho and harissa and spices including ancho pepper, ghost pepper and poblano.
The Innovating with Trending Savory Tastes breakout report details flavor and ingredient themes which the taste and nutrition company predicts will stand out in ready meals, soups, sauces and sides.
The categories are grouped into five subgroups: “ethnic exploration,” “savoring umami,” “a hint of natural sweetness,” “spice specificity” and “comforting cheese.”
Based on the company’s research on industry product launches, sales data and menu penetration, the report provides a wealth of insights, market intelligence and information about taste trends and innovations in the foodservice and retail meal spaces, says Kerry.
Each of the subgroups lists specific trending flavors and ingredients, analyzes why consumers are favoring these tastes, and highlights real menu products that are finding success in the 2021 marketplace.
“The report specifically details which taste advances are trending in meals right now and lists exciting market examples of products and meal innovations in each area,” says Cassandra Rouleau, marketing coordinator at Kerry.
Insights on emerging trends
At a time when few people can travel, consumers are exploring ethnic flavors like never before – in effect, they are traveling with their taste buds.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues in 2021, consumers are still making meals at home while some are supporting local businesses through take-out, or a combination of the two. Either way, consumers are definitely experiencing food fatigue,” Rouleau explains.
“Kerry is committed to guiding our customers on a journey to develop the next generation of authentic tastes that will delight, surprise and excite consumers,” she adds.
“Our global taste charts represent Kerry’s annual review of the entire F&B taste landscape. This breakout report drills down further by identifying real-time taste trends in meals in both the US and Canada.”
Specific spices, ethnic exploration
A growing interest in spicy foods is one of this year’s highlights, reveals Kerry.
Consumers look beyond jalapeño peppers as they seek more intense “heat” from flavors such as serrano and ghost pepper.
Brands and operators looking to reach consumers should call out the specific pepper they are using on the pack or menu, which helps consumers identify spice levels, Kerry flags.
In 2020, Innova revealed that more than one-third of US consumers said they were “very interested” in trying ethnic cuisines.
As the public experiences “food boredom,” being able to travel through one’s taste buds is a surging pastime.
Ethnic flavors such as marsala and harissa are popping up in more ready-to-eat retail offerings, with sauces and seasonings, soups, ready meals and side dishes showing the highest percentage of ethnic food launches.
Brands can introduce region-specific and ethnic flavors to consumers seamlessly by pairing them with familiar comfort foods and meals that don’t require much preparation.
Building savory profiles
Umami can be described as providing a savory taste that is characteristic of meaty dishes and broths.
“The fifth taste, umami, also features prominently, as do combinations of natural sweetness with savory and the comfort of cheese,” details Rouleau.
“Some of the rising umami flavor flavors and ingredients on the 2021 taste charts include miso, soy, truffle mushroom and black garlic in the US. In Canada, the key ones on the 2021 taste charts include miso, soy sauce and truffle mushroom.”
Additionally, a wide variety of cheeses are on the rise, including ones that feature vegan and plant-based claims and options with spicy and ethnic flavors (such as cotija and feta).
“It’s important for brands using umami to include the term on the item menu description. This enables consumers to be aware that they are experiencing this intriguing fifth taste,” notes Rouleau.
“In these challenging times, consumers are hungry to experience comforting new flavors, so menu developers must remain on the cutting edge of the newly emerging flavors that may appeal to their customers – and communicate what they include in their new offerings. Kerry’s taste and flavor applications development team includes highly experienced in-house chefs who can assist customers in product development,” she affirms.
Monitoring taste trends
The methodology for designing Kerry’s Taste Charts has evolved over the years.
Rouleau says the company analyzes points of sale data, product launches and menu penetration as primary sources of data to consider from the world of flavors in retail as well as from the foodservice industry.
In addition, Kerry sources internal insights from its application experts from all over the world and industry reports and integrates these with our accumulated data in order to create the annual Taste Charts.
“There is a life cycle of how taste and flavors evolve through time. Our predictions use historical data dating back a decade, and evaluate flavors and ingredients that are here to stay, as well as flavors and ingredients set to create ripples in the industry,” she concludes.