Tastepoint: Top Flavor Trends
Tastepoint by IFF releases its top 10 trending flavors for new foods and drinks
In order to continue crafting solutions that uniquely fit your needs, Tastepoint by IFF stays current on industry and market trends; appreciating what’s relevant now and uncovering what will energize the future.
We have compiled our annual flavor predictions for 2019, showcasing flavors that we believe will be trending in foodservice and retail this coming year.
BERBERE: Surveys show 55% of US consumers are interested in African flavors at restaurants and 32% would like to see more African flavors in retail seasonings (Mintel). Those figures have a lot to do with berbere’s quick climb among the trend ranks. This Ethiopian spice blend includes chili peppers, garlic, ginger and basil, among other ingredients. Traditionally used to season beef, chicken, lentils, eggplant and stews, berbere is a novel way to turn up the heat for consumers seeking the latest in bold flavor innovation
CACAO BEAN: The cacao bean is the dried and fermented seed of the cacao plant. Not to be confused with its byproduct cocoa, which is made from cacao seeds that have been roasted. Its characteristically bitter taste is nuanced by notes of fermented fruit and hints of herbaceous tea. Cacao’s numerous health benefits, like high antioxidant levels, calcium and iron, are catapulting it into the ingredient and flavor spotlight. Look for cacao in coffee, desserts, smoothies, plant-based beverages and bars, used to complement sweet brown profiles or paired with fruit.
DATE: Over the last three years, dates as an ingredient have grown by double digits, according to Mintel Menu Insights. As Middle Eastern and Mediterranean fare has gained global admirers, dates have come along for the ride. From accenting the center of the plate to starring in baked goods and sweetening plant-based beverages, the caramelic, dried fruit, sweet, maple, smoky and earthy notes of dates make them an amicable partner across the food and beverage landscape.
GHEE: Butter, in all of its glorious forms, is an undeniable and growing trend. Ghee, a version of clarified butter, has long been a staple in Indian cooking. Adored for its sweet brown buttery notes, it’s now being ushered in to everyday use in place of traditional butter. Whether spread on toast, used for high heat cooking, added to popcorn or even stirred into coffee, this Paleo-friendly condiment has everyone melting.
LEMONGRASS: Lemongrass, another global inspiration on this year’s list, is commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine. Whether brightening up soup, tea or sauce, or adding fresh notes to stir-fries and curry pastes, the citrusy plant adds a unique culinary touch. With hints of lemon zest nuanced by floral, sweet, clean, and green tones, lemongrass is winning over consumers around the world.
LION’S MANE MUSHROOM: There’s so much more to mushrooms than just their savory goodness. It’s apparent that consumers agree, given their sustained stay atop trend lists. Most mushrooms are either loved for their distinctive flavor profile, or used for their health benefits, but lion’s mane is revered for both its taste and functionality. Some even hail it as a “smart mushroom” because of its purported benefits to cognitive function and nerve regeneration. Its flavor is mildly sweet with nuances of green tea and toasted rice. While its very tender, meaty texture can be compared to crab or lobster, making lion’s mane a novel culinary alternative to meat
MISO: A long-standing fixture in Japanese cooking, miso is a seasoning paste made from fermented soybeans and barley or rice malt. Its versatility lends itself for use in sauces, spreads, vegetables and meat. As of late however, miso has been hopping categories and making waves in products far beyond its origins. We’ve spotted miso in veggie snacks, potato chips, tea, jerky and even chocolate confectionery.
ORANGE BLOSSOM: Floral and botanical flavors will continue to dominate in 2019. Their natural appeal and bright flavor profiles are driving consumer demand. Orange blossoms, the blooms of orange trees, are likened to a combination of jasmine, honey, citrus and tea with sweet floral distinctions. As with most botanical flavors, it’s often best to introduce them in combination with a popular fruit or other familiar flavor profile. Although there are certain categories that are far more welcoming to solo floral flavors, including tea, confectionery and sparkling beverages.
ROOIBOS: Rooibos, or red bush tea, is indigenous to South Africa where it’s been popular for generations. The functionality and mass flavor appeal of tea has been launching the category into the spotlight for years. As consumers look to explore new flavors in the arena, expect rooibos to make waves in 2019 and beyond. Fruity, herbal, floral and warm spice flavor notes make it a great flavor for use in beverages, baked goods, frozen dessert and more.
TART CHERRY: Also known as Montmorency cherries, tart cherries are building momentum thanks to their inherent health halo. The same flavonoid compounds that make these cherries characteristically sour also lend health benefits like aiding with inflammation, exercise recovery and even sleep. As consumers flock to sour taste profiles, the tart, cherry, berry and juicy flavors of Montmorency cherry poise it for trend stardom.
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