- McCormick & Co. is partnering with Blue Pacific Flavors to distribute its powdered FlavorCell technology that offers "multi-dimensional" non-GMO, natural flavors that can then be used in powdered beverages, confectionery and bakery products. This technology also extends the shelf-stability of citrus and fruit flavors.
- In addition to distributing McCormick's new flavors, Blue Pacific will also have custom offerings using its natural fruit flavor keys.
- "We see substantial interest in higher quality, encapsulated natural flavors from our core natural food and beverage clients. Our customers are looking for flavors that have stronger aroma and more authentic flavor impact than traditional spray-dried flavors," Blue Pacific Flavors CEO Donald Wilkes said in a release.
Flavoring has been a boon for the food industry in recent years. The reason stems from increasing consumer curiosity. According to a Mintel study, 35% of U.S. consumers would be tempted to try a new dish if it had unique flavors or ingredients, and 80% of people like trying new seasonings, spices and flavors.
McCormick is looking to take full advantage of that trend and is aiming to use artificial intelligence to make the process of developing new products up to 70% faster. This helps product developers parse through the 40 years of data the seasonings company has amassed on consumers, taste palates and product attributes. As of early February, the company had already released three recipe mix flavors through this process: Tuscan Chicken, Bourbon Pork Tenderloin and New Orleans Sausage.
Although there has been success for the company in recent years, McCormick CEO Lawrence Kurzius told Food Dive last year that the company is lagging in beverages. FlavorCell technology seems to be an attempt to catch up. This new additive focuses on providing fuller aroma and flavor compared to traditional spray dried flavors. The powder is dissolvable and provides taste without dilution while also extending shelf life.
FlavorCell can be used in multiple applications in addition to beverages where its solubility could be valuable for manufacturers looking to add taste without the accompanying texture. The powder also appears to come in colors, which could add another dimension to products to enhance the consumer experience.
As today's shoppers prepare more items at home, they are looking for flavor to boost both the interest and nutritional profile of the dishes and drinks they make. A survey by Nielsen found American households cook dinner at home at least five days a week. Although they want the taste of a home-cooked meal, Americans are also becoming more pressed for time.
McCormick finds itself strategically placed to provide an answer to this conundrum of enjoying the authentic flavor of hours in the kitchen with the convenience of ready-made. The 130-year old manufacturer of spices, seasoning mixes, flavorings and condiments has products tailored to this desire with brands such as Thai Kitchen, Zatarain's, Simply Asia and Lawry's. So far, its approach to delivering authentic flavor to the average home has paid off. The company's third-quarter profit was $191.9 million, compared with $173.5 million a year before.
This is not the first time McCormick has formed a partnership to expand the reach of its spices. Earlier this year, the Maryland company launched co-branded spice mixes with BuzzFeed called Tasty Seasoning Blends. These partnerships are clearly intended to expand audience reach and drive engagement. While the BuzzFeed partnership was a savvy play to engage directly with consumers through recipe video tutorials, working with a well-known flavoring company like Blue Pacific is a way for McCormick to expand its reach into ready-made options for beverages, confectionery and bakery products.
As consumers look for new flavor offerings and aim to eat healthier without sacrificing taste, McCormick's partnership with BuzzFeed and now Blue Pacific ideally position it to better tap into these trends as they unfold.