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Up-and-Coming: 2006 Flavor Trends

By: Cara Newkirk, FONA International
Posted: December 19, 2005, from the January 2006 issue of P&F magazine.
In order to bridge the gap between the two, FONA International developed the Flavor Radar -- a flavor-mapping methodology that tracks flavors from being a novel idea to being an everyday pantry staple. FONA's Flavor Radar balances current data from industry-renowned databases with in-depth analysis on how a flavor trend is affecting the food industry. By combining a comprehensive set of indicators, including restuarant menus, new product introductions and print media data, with FONA's expert analysis, predicting flavor trends will become much more clear and precise.

The Flavor Radar encompasses four categories: novel, up-and-coming, mainstream and everyday. The process for determining what fl avors to include on the Flavor Radar begins with an initial fl avor scan from either a market or industry perspective. This is followed by data mining through the various indicators of restaurant menus, retail product introductions and print media publications. FONA’s experts conduct a final flavor scan to identify which flavors have the most category versatility and consumer appeal.

The interesting thing about flavor trends is the progression from novel to everyday. Some flavors that start off as novel never make it to everyday status; however, the progression time frame of those that do make it can vary based on many factors. The versatility of product application in which the flavor appears is a key factor in the progression of a flavor. Additionally, the revitalization factor — the cyclical process of fl avors — should be considered when examining fl avor trends. Given the latter, there are really two different types of fl avors: those that are truly new from a consumer awareness perspective, and those that may be familiar but have been brought back to the forefront in new applications and uses.

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