Mintel announced the major flavor trends that are just emerging, are already hitting the mainstream and those that are set to shape the future of foodservice in 2018 and beyond.

Among the flavors already creating buzz in the US, Middle Eastern cuisine has become an inspiration for fusion flavors, ‘less sweet’ desserts featuring ingredients such as olive oil and vinegar are gaining popularity, and functional ingredients are adding color and flavor to food and drinks.

Meanwhile, Mintel predicts spice blends, sauces and condiments will introduce diners to emerging international cuisines, while new spins on seasonings and preparation methods will bring meaty flavors to both meat and vegetables alike.

Looking ahead, expect to see chefs and scientists push the limits of creativity to provide a sense of balance and harmony in foods through ‘kokumi,’ which adds complexity and depth to dishes.

“Flavor is an ever-evolving art, ripe with opportunities for interpretation, innovation and creativity. Today, that opportunity lies in the expansion of international flavors and ingredients and in the years ahead, we predict the ingenuity of new dishes will come down to enhancing the chemistry of ingredients to create hearty masterpieces. The future of flavor also lies in creating healthy dishes without giving up satisfying taste,” said Amanda Topper, Associate Director of Foodservice Research at Mintel.