The firm has revealed its Taste Charts 2020 report following its annual review of consumer trends, influences, endorsements from culinary experts, mixologists and baristas. The team of global food and drink experts then predict trending tastes for the coming year to help brands with their next innovations.
The report lists 'mainstream', 'key', ‘up and coming’, and 'emerging' flavour predictions for specific categories of food and drink. For example, the 'up and coming' flavour predictions for sweet products include: gin, margarita and rum, banana, coffee, elderflower, basil, lavender, rosemary, plum, smoke, cardamom, peppercorn, tea and yuzu.
And some of the report's more unusual ‘emerging’ trends for this sweet product category include: Cointreau, mojito, pina colada, vodka, quark and tahini.
Some of the more unexpected ‘up and coming’ and ‘emerging’ trends within the salty snacks category include: peach, veal, margherita, Bloody Mary and Jim Beam.
Changing taste experiences
Explaining the generous listings for alcohol and the strange mix of savoury and sweet flavours, Erika Minaguchi, senior marketing executive for Beverage & Sweet Taste, at Kerry Ireland, says busy lifestyles have changed the way consumers experience taste, and how manufacturers can deliver flavour.
“The association between categories and their respective flavour palettes are changing dramatically, and this is really exciting in terms of product development.
“For example, we see alcohol flavours playing a huge role in the Sweet category; and fruity profiles such as Summer Fruits and Pineapple can be seen in Salty Snacks. These lines will continue to blur as consumers disassociate flavours with times of the day and specific categories.”
A number of exotic flavour inspirations are peppered throughout the different product category lists, as well as unusual herbs and plants. For example, trends in sweet dairy include pandan, stracciatella, verbena, lemongrass and lingonberry while beverage flavour trends include spirulina, aniseed, papaya, caraway, gingko, marjoram, cantaloupe melon, cumin, chlorella, charcoal, cactus, basil seed, artichoke, anise, mangosteen, sage and beetroot.
This can be credited to consumers who are experiencing new tastes on their travels, and also around the movement towards healthier and more functional ingredients, explains Minaguchi.
She adds: “Travel & Emigration is one of the biggest influencers of taste. It gives people the opportunity to experience new flavours and textures, but also lends itself to the fusion of cultures and integration of traditions, welcoming consumers to experience tastes from all over the globe.
“With the proliferation of ethnic cuisines such as Asian, Hispanic and Middle Eastern food in European markets, consumer tastes now go beyond mainstream dishes such a falafel, chilli con carne and korma, as they look to ingredients such as curuba, pandan and mangosteen to drive an authentic, exotic taste in products.
“Alongside Travel & Emigration, exotic ingredients are often perceived as Functional, with additional benefits. This is happening across all categories, especially beverage, where consumers are looking to ingredients such as turmeric and matcha not only to drive flavour but also for additional functional benefits.”
As well as listing flavours, the report also offers a Functional ingredient trends list which includes: Aloe vera, baobab, moringa, guarana, garlic, spinach, turmeric, wheatgrass and hemp.
And some ‘alternative’ ingredient trends noted by Kerry include: Cactus, pear, carob, edamame, dulse, green tea, bitter melon, nettle, lotus root, dates
Ingredients trending for their visual appeal include: Marshmallow, candy floss, calendula flowers, gingerbread, saffron, cucumber, juniper berries, fig, candied rhubarb.
And those trending thanks to their sensorial effect include: Basil, mint, pink peppercorn, chilli flakes, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, pomegranate and matcha.