- Consumers worldwide are interested in international flavors and ingredients as well as mixing and mingling items that would not naturally be put together, ingredient company Kerry found in its 10th annual Taste and Nutrition Charts.
- The Ireland-based company used data from CPG food products, restaurant items, chefs, baristas, nutritionists and marketers to find the flavors that are mainstream, have staying power and are emerging. In the U.S., milk chocolate is a mainstream flavor in sweets, while cream cheese is emerging. Jalapeno chili is manstream in salty snacks, and sesame is emerging. Lemonade is a mainstream beverage, while pickle is emerging.
- This detailed report — which includes insights into flavors in several categories and is available separately for 16 countries and global regions — can help manufacturers design products that are on trend.
Kerry’s Taste and Nutrition Charts, which the company’s Global Insights and Consumer Research Director Soumya Nair said in an online conference sketch out the trajectory of different flavors in consumers’ consciousness.
To open both the report and the online press conference introducing it, Nair used an example of a flavor that has gone from emerging to mainstream: sriracha. In 2011, sriracha moved from a pepper and condiment to a flavor in snacks, sauces and candy. Applications for the seasoning — as well as the flavors it is commonly mixed with — have exploded around the world in the last decade. Nair said she’d seen sriracha pairings with fruits, including pineapple, and in a drinking vinegar.
“While you’re shopping or while you’re going and getting your next latte, you’re probably going to see sriracha all across the place,” she said.
Consumers are looking to flavors to take them to different places — especially after three years of staying close to home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nair said. When looking at Kerry’s taste charts, about a fifth of the ingredients are inspired by international flavors. Cardamom, churro and gooseberry, for example, are emerging as popular flavors in Europe and the United States. Black peppercorn from India, ashwagandha and ancient grains, such as kamut and farro, also are seeing popularity.
Unlikely flavor mashups are taking center stage worldwide. Examples Nair gave include fruitcake-flavored Mtn Dew, Mondelez’s RitzxOreo and a ghost pepper latte she found at a coffee shop.
In the U.S., emerging flavors — defined as the top 20 fastest growing in the last year — varied between categories. Birthday cake is an emerging salty snack flavor addition, but it’s also a key flavor — the 11th through 25th most popular during the past five years — in the sweets category. And spice is getting more popular in the savory category, with banana peppers, wasabi, kung pao and Nashville hot flavors all emerging.