Anyone involved in the flavor industry would agree that natural and organic are, and will continue to be, important trends in the food industry. However, as Danny Hodrien (F&F Projects Ltd.) revealed at a recent SAFC symposium, there are many more emerging food and flavor trends to be aware of. An important thing to keep in mind when considering any new flavor, noted Hodrien, is consumers’ obsession with weight, age, health and mortality. Any new food and beverage development needs to be in line with these consumer concerns, and flavor developments must reflect this market environment. The current “must haves” in food trends are clean label, natural and lower fat/sugar/salt. These will remain important trends for the foreseeable future.
In his presentation, Hodrien discussed six emerging food trends: functional (well-being), pre/probiotic, anti-cholesterol, anti-aging, energy boosting and provenance foods (eco-friendly). Flavored functional water is a great example of the functional trend. It has been a boom product sector in recent times and looks set to continue expansion. Some new flavors for functional water include: pomegranate, exotic citrus fruits, lychee, mangosteen, açai, mango, passion fruit and cactus fig. Provenance food is another fascinating trend, in which customers have become increasingly interested in where the product came from, who made it and how it was made. This reflects consumers' growing desire to lessen their carbon footprint.
Hodrien also addressed emerging flavor trends, focusing on fruit flavors, savory flavors, indulgence flavors and functional image flavors. Among the up-and-coming fruit flavors are: guava, mangosteen, rhubarb, watermelon, pomegranate, pear, bergamot, blood orange, Meyer lemon, yuzu and blackberry. Savory flavor trends seem to be narrowing to specific regions and particular varieties. For example, Indian food in regions such as Punjabi and Goan, and chili varieties such as aji amarillo and habanero are growing in popularity. Flavors that have a functional image or are known to have health benefits are becoming more popular. Whatever the trend is, it is becoming necessary for flavor and food companies to find new flavors and/or benefits to counter consumers’ organoleptic boredom.