Flavor Radar 07

The National Restaurant Association and Givaudan seek out emerging flavor trends

Flavor experiences and expectations often begin in restaurants and often wind up reflected on store shelves. One of the organizations tracking how people are eating today is the National Restaurant Association (NRA), and the group’s 2007 Industry Forecast presents some compelling revelations.

The NRA study concludes that the organic trend continues to grow across all strata of eating venues, from fine dining to casual. In addition, a full 36% of surveyed adults claim to be eating on the run less often than in recent years. Forty eight percent also say they don’t eat in their cars as much as in recent years. Could the convenience foods wave be slowing?

Among the hot flavors, the NRA cited:

  • Mediterranean, Latin American and pan-Asian fusion
  • Aged meats
  • Ginger
  • Pomegranate
  • Figs
  • Fresh herbs
  • Exotic mushrooms
  • Pan-seared, grilled and braised foods
  • Bottled water

The Changing Flavor Palette Condensed

Flavor house Givaudan is also keeping an eye on the flavor radar, breaking down trends into three categories under its FlavourVision 2007* banner. The result is a wide-ranging set of flavors from the exotic to the comforting.

1. According to the company, the first segment—called Wonderlands—is “marked by consumer exploration and the desire for new experiences.” These include exotic and ethnic flavors, in addition to sensorial tastes such as heating and cooling, sour-puckering, and tingling. Flavors associated with this set include:

  • Rhubarb
  • Blue ginger/galangal
  • Smoked paprika
  • Pink peppercorn
  • Guava
  • Mangosteen
  • Acai berry
  • Amazonian herbs
  • Rooibos/red tea

2. More sophisticated or adult-oriented flavors, in addition to frothy, rich, creamy and sweet tastes, define the Pleasure Principals category. Flavors associated with this segment include:

  • Caramel
  • Bitter chocolate
  • Pandan
  • Custard
  • Coffee
  • Toffee
  • Buttercream
  • Artisanal honey

3. The final category, Body & Soul, should come as no surprise to flavor chemists. Indeed, the health and wellness trend is one of the largest forces shaping flavor today. This segment, according to Givaudan, calls for flavors incorporating antioxidant fruits and berries, calming spices and florals, and active hydration. Flavors associated with this category include:

  • Watermelon
  • Olive
  • Cardamom
  • Pear
  • Bergamot
  • Miso
  • Lavender
  • Green and white tea
  • Almond

For the full NRA Forecast, visit www.restaurant.org/forecast.

*FlavourVision is a trademark of Givaudan.

More in Trends