The search for something new, different and exciting is leading flavor developments in food and beverage, supported by an ongoing interest in natural, clean label and healthier options. ‘New Discoveries’ has emerged as the leader in Innova Market Insights’ top flavor trends for 2019, as the company continuously analyzes global developments in food and beverage launch activity and consumer research to highlight the trends most likely to impact the food and beverage industry over the coming year and beyond. The top flavor trends for 2019 are:
Consumers are on a big, broad journey of discovery, moving out of their comfort zones to explore new food experiences, with flavor playing a major role in it. This is illustrated by the fact that two out of three US respondents in an Innova Market Insights survey agreed with a statement that they love to discover new flavors. Even among more traditional consumers who didn’t agree with the statement, there is still a role for reinventing classic flavors with novel twists, alongside developing new and more unusual flavors and combinations.
Brands are leaning towards more remarkable and unusual flavor hybrids, as well as stronger taste experiences (hot, sweet and savory), while sour options are also surging in popularity. Well-established sweet and salty combinations are being joined by a whole raft of other hybrid flavor solutions, led by initiatives such as sushi pizza, spicy tuna roll corn dogs, pasta bacon tacos and ramen burgers in the food service sector.
Established flavors perceived to be dull are being reinvented, often in much more complex and sophisticated combinations. An aging population globally is driving the demand for more adult-oriented options, with traditional coffee flavor, for example, increasingly giving way to more upmarket, added-value and on-trend options, such as cold brew caramel latte, in a whole range of food and beverage products. As well as coffee, other adult-oriented flavors growing in popularity include various types of alcohol, as well as smoke/roasted options.
Consumers regard themselves as world citizens and are showing increasing interest in diverse flavors inspired by global cuisines. Southeast Asian, East Asian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors are more in evidence in traditional and familiar Western snacks, beverages and ready-to-eat meals. This demand for authentic-style ethnic alternatives focuses not just on flavor, but also on recipes and even product ingredients, origins or provenance.
Umami is the fifth basic taste after sweet, sour, bitter and salty but unlike the others, it’s hard to define. Often described as savory, meaty deliciousness, it comes down to the taste of glutamates on our tongue. Western awareness remains low, but the rising demand for exotic flavors and convenient home cooking is driving the growth of launches with a umami claim. Conversely, umami is well-established and understood in the East, but the recent focus on mindful food choices and the demand for clean and healthy products have driven the use of ingredients with a natural source of umami taste.
The other top trends identified by Innova Market Insights are bitter is back, botanicals branch out, fruitful favorites, functionally flavorful and flavor connections. Innova Market Insights will present the flavor trends for 2019 on 10 July 2019 at 4 p.m. CEST-10 a.m. EDT.