For more than a century, T. Hasegawa has made “Life Taste Better” through custom flavors and fragrances developed for the world’s top food and beverage brands.
T. Hasegawa is recognized around the world for its innovation and product differentiation, which builds our clients’ product flavor to unparalleled standards. Through a passion for culinary creation and a strong faith in the power of aroma and taste, T. Hasegawa’s flavor experts work to improve the way we experience food and beverages.
Most recently, T. Hasegawa researchers have prepared an extensive “Flavor Flash” report with insights regarding Asian food trends—and how they intersect with flavor. Here are a few of T. Hasegawa’s findings:
•Restaurants remain the key path to trail for Asian cuisine. Restaurants will be the impetus for the broadening trend toward emerging and regional Asian cuisines and their corresponding dishes, flavors and ingredients. As dining out trends upward, special menus and events can help attract customers.
•Asian cuisine benefits from a “health halo” and also delivers a sense of adventure. While Asian food is generally perceived to be healthy and offers good flavor variety, ample opportunity exists to broaden its appeal on a number of fronts. Plant-based dishes can boost the cuisine’s health halo even more, while the rich variety of complex flavors can instill a sense of adventure and excitement among consumers.
•Combining adventurous Asian flavors and ingredients with already popular varieties in a wide range of applications can boost trial and use. Many flavors and ingredients in Asian cuisine trend toward the obscure. Combining lesser known flavors with more popular varieties and leveraging creative applications can increase trial and therefore familiarity and use.
•An increase in the U.S. Asian population will fuel regional cuisine growth. The diverse Asian American population is growing quickly. Census data predicts a 23.8% increase in the U.S. Asian population between 2016 and 2026, leading to increased diversity and interested in lesser-known Asian cuisines as well as more region-specific flavors.
•The most versatile Asian ingredients have the highest interest for use in at-home recipes. More than 50% of participants in a Mintel survey cited use of Soy sauce in at-home recipes, and 38% used sesame seed in the home kitchen. These ingredient mainstays can be used in combination with other lesser-known flavors as a means of introduction, such as a soy with calamansi or sriracha with gochujang. This pathway to trial expands even wider in restaurants for key popular Asian flavors and ingredients such as Thai curry, miso, lemongrass and Szechuan pepper.
•Even further leveraging the healthy aspects of Asian flavors. Many Asian cuisines are vegetarian=friendly or allow for flexible preparation methods that could include meat substitutes, answering the call for plant-based options on menus and at retail. Other health trends are perfectly suited to Asian cuisine, such as the focus on gut health, with fermented Asian flavors like kimchi, miso and tempeh.
•The potential of Asian flavors for delivering excitement. Parents – many of whom are Millennials – are adventures eaters, more prone to choose a lesser-known Asian cuisine as a favorite. Positioning less-popular Asian dishes as a form of adventure the whole family can enjoy together, whether at home or away, and expressing a message with an undercurrent of excitement could appeal to parents.
•Mixing Asian flavors into snacking and other dayparts. With fewer larger meals being eaten at morning, noon and night, brands, retailers, and operators can harness the snacking habit to put more Asian flavors into play. Less-often consumed Asian-flavored dishes and drinks can be a flavor point of entry. Trending hot flavors are evident in snacks, including gochujang and Szechuan. Incorporating familiar flavor profiles will draw attention and combining those with emerging ones can encourage trial of new dishes and flavors.