According to the Innovation on the Menu: Flavor Trends report published by market research firm, Mintel, 62% of millennials and 56% of U.S. adults identify as adventurous eaters, with 82% of consumers stating they were willing to try new flavors. This interest in the bold and unexpected permeates a variety of 2015 flavor-trend predictions with forecasts focusing on pungent flavors that provide a strong taste for consumers. An assortment of spicy Middle Eastern and Asian flavors can be seen throughout, along with an increasing focus on sour, smoky and bitter notes.
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) backs its Top 5 2015 Flavor Trends predictions with extensive data from a variety of sources and provides “drivers” behind each trend. Sweet + Heat is chosen from consumers’ love of spicy flavors and a growing interest in heat mixed with sweet ingredients—think chili peppers with berries and citrus fruits. IFT notes that manufacturers are already pursuing this trend with Kalsec introducing Tangy Sweet Ginger, Spicy Orange, Herbal Jalapeño and Sweet-Roasted Chipotle at the 2014 IFT Food Expo. IFT includes spice’s ability to play to consumers’ view of a product’s authenticity, as well as studies showing that spice might have a positive effect on the metabolism as drivers of this trend. IFT predicts sour, bitter and tangy flavors with a focus on fermented foods will also be big in 2015, noting kimchi as a strong influence on consumers growing interest in fermented products. Like Sweet + Heat, IFT includes “authenticity and health and wellness” as a driver of this trend. IFT rounds out its forecast with umami, smoke and oak, and Middle Eastern and North African flavors.
Last year, The McCormick® Flavor Forecast® predicted chilies, Indian, Mexican and Brazilian flavors would satisfy consumer cravings for heat in 2014 and it seems in 2015, consumers will still crave heat but now from regions like the Middle East and Asia. Like IFT, McCormick’s trend categories included umami, smoke and all around spicy ethnic flavors. Consumers looking for tang will turn to products that feature Sour + Salt. Those craving umami will turn to vegetables that include the “fifth taste”—mushrooms, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and nori. Smoked spices will provide depth to drinks and condiments, while fruit and vegetable juices and purees mixed with herbs and spices will add flavor to soup and sauce applications. On the dessert front, cookies will get a sophisticated makeover flavoring brûlées, tarts and bars.
Comax Flavors picked four flavor category trends for its Flavor Trends for 2015 press release: Melting Pot, In a Nutshell, Coffee House and Breakfast Anytime. With Melting Pot, you’ll find flavors with Hispanic and Asian influences. In a Nutshell focuses on nuts bringing new flavor to sweet applications like bourbon caramel pistachio and savory applications like pecan chipotle. Coffee House focuses on consumers increased demand for coffee and the opportunity for coffee mixed with unexpected flavors. For example, Comax Flavors developed cofftea and cabernet espresso to celebrate National Coffee Day in 2014.
Firmenich, an international producer of flavor solutions, reports that honey will be the flavor of 2015. In an article from BakeMag.com, Patrick Salord, senior flavorist at Firmenich, stated, “For a flavor that is as sweet as honey is, it shows remarkable versatility. Depending on the application, you can tone down the sweetness or even tone it up! It’s a flavor that has no limit in its potential, and people respond to that.” While honey has been growing in popularity in recent years, it will be especially popular in 2015 as a vessel for the bolder spicier flavors forecasted.
As we continue to read about and share with you more predictions for 2015 food industry trends, feel free to leave us a comment with your thoughts on what trends you think the food industry will see in 2015.