Flavour Trends | January 2020 Summary
Spicy things continue to be a really ‘hot’ trend…consumers are really leaning towards different, broader — jalapeno, habanero, ghost pepper — and really want to understand the depth and the level of spice that might provide them.
Consumers continue to seek tastes that delight, surprise and excite them. In the Sweet category, apricot, blueberry, chili, cinnamon, grapefruit, marzipan, nut, stracciatella, toffee and yogurt are some of the key trending ingredients. Up and coming tastes include alcoholic flavors such as gin, margarita and rum and banana, elderflower, spices such as cardamom and peppercorn, and herbs including basil, lavender and rosemary. Emerging tastes here include lemon curd, Mizo, Szechuan and quark. In savory category biryani, beetroot, cheese (Herder and Goat’s Cheese), chimichurri, chutney, cumin, Kimchi, sage, miso and nduja are among the up and coming tastes. While ancho pepper, buckwheat, game, turnip and venison are also emerging tastes. In beverages (dairy and hot), spirulina, spice, rosemary and rhubarb are tipped as up and coming, while blood orange, caraway, cucumber, fenugreek, gingko, marjoram and papaya are all flavor notes that are emerging.
Pulling a few emerging or fringe ingredients into more familiar flavor combinations—a term Datassential has cleverly coined “fusebiquity.” That’s a surefire way to draw attention and capture the imagination.
While Korean bbq remains popular, onsite chefs are incorporating Korean ingredients like kimchi, dried seaweed, gochujang, sesame oil and more. These Korean flavors are showing up paired with classics (hello, kimchi hot dogs and hamburgers with gochujang aioli), as attention-grabbing appetizers and even as part of mashups with other trends, such as Korean fried chicken and waffles. The flavors are bold, tangy, spicy, salty and sweet, hitting all the right notes to give customers’ taste buds a wakeup call.
Fruity and floral food and beverage products continue to pop up on the market. Lavender, Hibiscus, Key Lime, Plum, Rosé Wine, and on the savory side, Roasted Garlic. Matcha, Elderflower, Rose, White Peach, Jasmine, and Harissa, a galicky chili paste from North Africa.
Botanical flavors will continue to flourish in 2020 because they add sophistication and nuance. Floral, herb, and spice flavors will primarily be used in combination with familiar true-to-fruit flavors. Hibiscus is a popular choice that will continue to flourish as well as lavender, rose, and elderflower, combined with flavors like berry, lemon, and peach. Similarly, exotic flavors such as those reminiscent of Latin America and Asia will satisfy consumers’ desire for adventurous sensory experiences. “Global flavors from Latin America and Asia like guava, blood orange, yuzu, chili, cayenne and cardamom will be popular in beverages across categories,” said Imbibe in a press release. “Ingredients with bold colors like blue majik (derived from spirulina), turmeric, beet, matcha, and butterfly pea flower will be used to create visually appealing beverages.”
Clean singular flavours in desserts are going to find favour with the audience. People are tired of multiple flavours in a single dish, which most of the time might not taste right if not researched properly. Hence the inclination towards food that has a clear-cut flavour profile.
Gin is experiencing a revival of sorts. As it continues to grow in popularity, experimentation with a wide variety of depths and intensities of flavours is likely to increase in the new year, and decade. Not just the creators, but drinkers too are expected to get more experimental with their gin.
First-generation immigrants to America, and grandparents who live in other countries or have recently immigrated, will transform restaurant menus. This is part of a growing interest among chefs with mixed cultural backgrounds to create new dishes based on techniques and ingredients from both sides of the family. Churros. Flavored ghee. Koji, the ancient mold responsible for miso and soy sauce. Cantonese pineapple buns. Makgeolli, the sparkling, fermented Korean rice liquor. Puffed snacks made from vegetable peels. Floral flavors. Halloumi cheese. Edible flowers and botanicals. Cane sugar alternatives. Food wrapped in bijao leaves. Ice cream with hidden vegetables (think mint chocolate chip with puréed spinach).
Koji, a traditional Japanese ingredient dubbed “Japan’s National Mold”, is going to have a moment this year as more and more home cooks are using it. The umami flavor of Koji has been a long-time pillar in Asian cuisine, but has recently started to gain momentum as prominent chefs and restaurants are experimenting with the strong flavor. In 2020, expect Koji to creep into everyday fare, as eaters become more familiar with the distinct uses and applications of the surprising ingredient.