After analyzing market shifts and U.S. consumer behavior, Sensient predicts the following flavors will be on the rise:
Chamoy – A mash-up of flavors that combines the smoky heat of ancho chilies with apricot preserves, lime juice, salt and sugar. Consumers’ renewed interest in revisiting classics, updated with an artisanal emphasis, takes this flavor to a new level. Most consumers are familiar with a commercial version of Chamoy sauce popular in Mexican cuisine that is sour and flat. We have taken this flavor back to its roots and given it the attention, complexity and homemade touch that made it a staple “South-of-the-border” condiment.
Charred Coconut – The coconut has become as ubiquitous as the apple; consumers love its tropical, creamy sweetness. Sensient has combined that with another flavor that is becoming a pillar of American cuisine: smoke. In fact, in this flavor the coconut is placed much closer to the flame — roasted.
Honeyed Evergreen – “Tree” is the new “seed.” In this flavor trend, the crisp, unpretentious pine is softened by honey instead of sap, as consumers start incorporating nature back into their daily lives. Bark, roots and leaves all will come back on the scene in a big way.
Overripe Melon – As focus on food waste comes front and center, it is beginning to impact the flavor world. This flavor appreciates the melon, which is so often served when under-ripe and tossed when it truly is ripe and most flavorful. The green notes mix with fermentation and therefore lend a slight alcohol scent and flavor.
Pandan – As an increasingly connected world increases consumers’ access to exotic ingredients, people are keen to find something new that jibes with the current American palate. This green, nutty and almost bready southeast Asian staple is a fun, new ingredient that can be incorporated into any dish.
Preserved Cherry Blossom – Americans are into pickling, preserving, curing, brining and other methods that make seasonal ingredients last all year. The notoriously short cherry blossom season is a global sensation, making the floral, fruity cherry blossom the perfect candidate for this treatment.
Sassafras Root – This is a common ingredient in so many products, yet most people aren’t sure what it tastes like. This plant’s flavor falls somewhere between a medicinal tonic and root beer. With consumers’ increased interest in bitters, roots and craft sodas, this flavor is sure to get them talking.
Urfa Chile – From time to time, you come across something that is so luxe, it makes you feel special when you use it. This is one of those things. The rich, raisin-y, chocolate taste of this chile has notes of tobacco and wine. This is a standout in a chile category that is otherwise saturated.
The consumer insights were developed utilizing Sensient’s “Trends to Taste” program, a proprietary predictive process that filters trends from the broad, consumer, macro level down to finished concepts that best demonstrate each flavor profile.
Throughout the year, Sensient’s team of marketing, R&D and sales professionals collect information through five strategic channels: market excursions, custom and syndicated research, trade shows and publications, word-of-mouth and social media. The resulting data is analyzed using immersion techniques to identify key insights, flavor profiles and concepts to share with customers. This year’s program included the addition of an urban foraging expedition, as well as trend substantiation by Mintel.
“The 2016 Trends to Taste flavor predictions represent a larger, overarching shift in consumer thinking,” said Lauren Williams, marketing manager, Sensient Flavors. “No longer overwhelmed by the amount of information and options that come with enhanced interconnectivity, consumers are increasingly interested in finding balance and personal fit in their lives, and these trends represent different aspects of that transformation.”