The North American palate is evolving. Consumers are no longer satisfied with the typical ketchup, salt and pepper and have become more open to trying new flavours from around the world. We (Generation Xers) along with Millennials and Generation Z are eager to seek out new culinary experiences. So let’s explore some flavour trends for 2019.

Floral, Fruit and Botanical

Lavender, hibiscus, rose, kiwi fruit, ginger, elderflower and the list goes on. The natural and exotic appeal of this group satisfies a number of consumers craving healthy and distinctive flavour combinations. Betty Hung, owner of Beaucoup Bakery and author of French Pastry 101 points out this trend was already observed in 2018 with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding cake of a lemon elderflower decorated with a simple butter cream and fresh flowers.

Hugh Evans, Synergy Flavours Marketing Manager for Europe and Asia identifies the use of floral and botanical flavors enables manufacturers to create new dimensions and add more complex tastes to existing products. Innovative taste profiles can be developed by pairing niche botanicals with more familiar fruits and vegetables.

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Heat

Heat for heat’s sake is a tired approach that no longer resonates with the adventurous, well-traveled consumers wanting to discover new flavour levels with multi-sensory experiences. These adventures are not coming from the common hot sauce condiment found beside the ketchup bottle at the local family restaurant.

Recently, the Sriracha market has been joined by the Korean hot sauce Gochujang made from sticky rice, fermented soybeans, salt and red chili paste and Harissa, a spicy and aromatic chili paste. Harissa recipes vary between countries and regions. A typical version includes a blend of hot chili peppers (often smoked), garlic, olive oil, tomatoes and spices, like cumin, coriander, caraway and mint. Rose petals can appear in it too. It is obvious consumers are seeking bolder, high impact and more complex flavour profiles in the heat department!

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Tea and Coffee

Tea and coffee flavours are on trend. The innovations and combinations are set becoming more exciting. When I was walking the Winter Fancy Food Show exhibit floor in San Francisco last month, a couple of products on trend caught my eye including Coffee Crunch Coconut Granola and Earl Grey Oat Biscuits.

We know three cups of tea are consumed worldwide for every cup of coffee, and in the United States, coffee drinkers are dramatically becoming tea fans. Flavours like matcha and rooibos are becoming more popular. Speciality coffee flavours including mocha, cappuccino, and latte are showing up in snacks, baked goods and nutrition bars. We’ve seen a increase in innovative ready-to-drink coffees that can be used as ingredients in baking and other drinks like flavoured milkshakes and mocktails.

Final Thought:

Exciting flavours including floral, fruit, botanical, bold heat, tea and coffee have the potential to meet consumers’ increasing demand for exhilarating new culinary experiences. As the global appeal continues based on virtual reality living via social media and the well-traveled consumer groups expect to see more natural, bold and exotic flavour trends this year and next.

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