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The 5 Drivers of Savory/Snack Flavors

Posted: August 21, 2007

Snacking is an ever-growing $34.8 billion category that has achieved the status of “the fourth meal” (see The Future of Snack Flavors in the July issue of Perfumer & Flavorist magazine). We recently asked Scott Harris, director of marketing at Givaudan, to outline the main drivers shaping contemporary savory/snack flavors. While he highlighted the importance of bold but balanced flavors, a desire for ethnic tastes, a focus on health and wellness, and a number of other key factors are the true engines of the category.

1. Ethnic

“Origin and authenticity are the underlying principles,” says Harris. “Consumers are taking things beyond Hispanic and Asian and getting more specificity in regionality—in Cubano, Spanish, Szechuan or Thai-inspired.” This, says Harris, is part of the evolution of fusion, moving away from what has come to be called “confusion cooking.” This evolution involves “bringing elements together that are traditionally familiar with those that are slightly foreign, bringing the advent of exploration, while remaining close to what is known.”

In addition, Harris points to the rise of the Mediterranean diet as the next big movement, delivering simplistic yet complex flavor profiles. “For instance,” he says, “olive oils and their use across menu items and as a highlight element to an entree, not just a base flavor, but evoking the origin or regional flavor differences and making them stand out.” In addition, the range of countries in the region from which these influences are being drawn is increasing, particularly North Africa. Harris also notes that the rise of the Mediterranean diet is not just a culinary movement, but a lifestyle trend as well, encompassing concepts of naturalness, health and wellness.

2. Back to Basics