18 Dec 2017 --- As the year-end approaches, FoodIngredientsFirst is looking ahead to the flavor trends to watch out for in 2018. Speaking to several leading flavor specialists, we go through what will be making waves next year – and commonalities for fast-moving flavors include bold and complex tastes, global inspiration and the fact that consumers are craving multi-sensorial experiences. Meanwhile floral, herbal, botanical and fruit will also be moving forward.
According to the UK-based specialists, burnt caramel, blood orange and elderflower will be the top three flavors packing a punch in 2018.
“In the past, we’ve seen these flavors used as toppings for desserts or as part of a combination of ingredients in liqueurs, but we believe 2018 will be the year that these flavors will be seen widely on restaurant menus, on grocery store shelves and at cocktail bars as standalone flavors,” says Greg Kaminski, executive research chef at Synergy Flavors.
“2018 will be an exciting year for exploring new and different flavors in a vast array of food and beverage applications, driven by consumer demand and continued effort on the part of industry food scientists, artisans and manufacturers to strive for new and creative options.”
Click to EnlargeDominique Delfaud, Director Market Intelligence Strategic Development, Flavors EMEA at Mane, believes flavor trends are closely linked to wider food trends – health, naturalness, sustainability and sensorial experience.
“Taste curiosity and diversity is on the rise. People travel, they like to explore new tastes, new cuisines,” she tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
“For instance, in the West, we are witnessing the emergence of matcha (an ancestral green tea delicacy from Japan) which is slowly tried by western palates. Conversely, the taste of butter is making inroads into Asian products.”
“Consumers crave for multi-sensorial experiences. Our teams have spotted two fast-moving flavors: pepper and ginger, which offer highly appealing aromatics and the thrill of warm and biting sensations.”
She cites Mane’s Pure Jungle Essence of Timur Pepper from Nepal, which has a sparkling grapefruit top note and earthy facets, as something that’s perfectly in line with today’s aspirations.
Just a couple of months ago, Mane also unveiled its new flavor solutions for savory applications which optimize spice impact on every occasion. This new range of products, known under the name of “Sense Capture Spices” is the result of the synergy between Mane in-house technologies and Kancor’s expertise in sourcing and extraction.
Firmenich agrees flavor trends for 2018 will be even more extrovert as consumers not only like, but also expect, creative and bold flavors across all segments.
Speaking to Jennifer Luzes, Global Strategic Foresight Manager, she says the flavor trends for next year will certainly not be wallflowers.
“The trend in Everything, Everything bagel seasoning that is, has taken over. Long gone are the days of ordering one at your local bagel shop to get your fix. Everything is everywhere: crackers, donuts, yogurt, potato chips, pretzels, and hummus, to name a few,” she says.
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“If everything is 'too much' and you, like many consumers, are looking to return to your roots, ancient ingredients such as figs, beets and turmeric are exactly the trends you need. The health benefits of these superfoods paired with their tasty flavor profiles is a winning combination that delights consumers.”
On top of this, Luzes says a broader food trend – that will also be reflected through flavors – is Escapism, which provides a channel to those seeking comfort in times of uncertainty.
“Escapism provides a way to explore for all, even those who only venture out virtually. Social media, film, fashion and, most of all, food and beverage are all key means of Escapism in endlessly creative ways,” she adds.
“Nostalgia is a major component of this trend. Even if the consumer has never lived through the targeted time frame, they are transported to an era where there is no uncertainty, as all questions about the future have been answered. This trend manifests itself in food and beverage products, as seen in fantasy flavors, such as Blue Raspberry, exotic flavors, like Jackfruit, and 'throwback' packaging across segments, all of which have become increasingly popular.”
This closely follows Firmenich naming fig as “Flavor of the Year” for 2018 based on the growing appeal for this healthy and fruity flavor worldwide. “With its numerous health benefits and sweet and satisfying flavor profile, fig offers endless opportunities to inspire our customers and delight their consumers across a wide range of food categories,” says Chris Millington, President of Firmenich, Flavors.
Long touted for its culinary uses as well as its numerous health benefits – including its high fiber content and a variety of essential minerals such as magnesium, manganese, calcium and potassium – fig has surged in popularity in recent years.
Firmenich’s trend insights show that fig resonates with consumers who perceive it to represent health and authenticity and Firmenich believes these trends will continue into 2018. In addition, as consumers look to replace processed sugar with alternative sweeteners, the fig has become a common go-to substitute.
Read more about Firmenich tipping figs as a powerful flavor for 2018 here.
Gold Coast Ingredients
Gold Coast Ingredients works on flavoring a variety of products and applications from food, beverage and nutrition products to animal treats and oral care. The Californian-based company cites protein and caffeine sources to be the big hitters next year, with 2018 witnessing a bigger push in natural energy.
“Today’s caffeineClick to Enlarge source isn’t just coffee and tea anymore. Look out for products such as coffee chews, caffeinated beef jerky, chocolates, marshmallows, gummy candy, chewing gum, and snack mixes,” Megan Trent, of Gold Coast Ingredients tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
“Protein sources are also very convenient to find now. Protein is heavily marketed in beverages, ice cream, nut butter and in an increasing amount of baked treats. We are in an era where the bakery industry has met the nutraceutical industry and they complement each other very well.”
“There’s been a dramatic increase in flavored protein cookies, pancake mixes, sweet and savory snack bars and other baked goods.”
In the past few years, companies have utilized indulgent flavor trends to innovate their product offerings, adds Trent, with the likes of highly successful Red Velvet Flavor followed by Birthday Cake Flavor which stepped up as a competitor.
But what’s next?
“In 2018, keep an eye out for the next trending cake flavor; one prospect is Butter Cake Flavor. Fine dining restaurants have been pushing their homemade, mouth-watering butter cake recipes, and we foresee a rise in demand for butter cake,” explains Trent.
“We have also seen many new twists on traditional banana flavor: banana dulce de leche, coffee banana, caramelized banana, banana maple, cinnamon banana, berry banana and the list goes on. Look out for the next popular banana combination.”
“Another flavor trend to watch out for is Moringa flavor. We expect to see new Moringa, today’s trending superfood, flavored beverages and snacks.”
Just earlier this month, Sensient Flavors launched it's All Natural Flavor Collections with the claims that the new flavors help food and beverage manufacturers to respond successfully to upcoming market trends and reflect current consumer preferences of botanical extracts.
The latest findings of Sensient’s consumer and market research underpin Sensient’s new All Natural Flavor Collections, which are split into five key botanical areas: Florals, Herbs, Spices, Tea and Ginger.
The company believes that as sophisticated consumers are demanding more natural, healthier options, and the chances to express their individuality at the same time, botanicals are making a comeback.
Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst recently at FiE in Frankfurt, Barbara Lezzer, Director of Marketing Europe – Sweet and Beverage, Sensient Flavors, explained how Sensient is seeing a lot of complexity coming into products.
“This is across beverages as well as sweet categories. Consumers are looking for more layered products, with a top note that is a bit more unusual. Botanicals are a big trend, herbs and spices are very popular and appealing for decoration, in cocktails for example,” she says.
“We see that spices are very effective and offer support for sweet and savory options for beverages. Pink pepper is an example that we’ve seen, we work with ginger, and we offer very diverse flavor profiles, most of the products are about telling a story.”
Meanwhile, Lezzer says there are many opportunities in alcoholic beverages with cocktails and flavors like thyme and mandarin, while sugar reduction is also a priority.
Wild Flavors and Specialty Ingredients
Speaking with the business unit of Archer Daniels Midland Company, WFSI is closely following flavor trends for 2018 in line with the broader trends of naturalness, as well as nuanced sweetness designed for an adult palate.
“When it comes to flavoring innovative products, the demand is steered towards solutions that are as natural as possible, combined with authentic taste,” Jochen Heininger, Vice President Product Management, WFSI EMEA, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
“In addition to WFSI’s classic natural flavors, FTNF (From The Named Fruit) flavors, in particular, will satisfy customer expectations in these areas.”
WFSI recently launched a new natural orange flavor range from different varieties and grown in different parts of the world, including Valencia Orange or Brazilian Orange.
“Certainly also interesting are beverages based on fermented juice concentrate. WFSI has composed beverages that have “adult” flavor profiles and nuanced sweetness. These new products can be positioned as contemporary lifestyle and enjoyment beverages suitable to many different occasions,” Heininger adds.
Bell Flavors & Fragrances EMEA
Bell Flavors & Fragrances EMEA declares botanical extracts as the hot topic for 2018. Being one of the leading suppliers of flavors, botanical extracts and ingredient specialties, the company makes natural ingredients a key focus for 2018.
Bell has created a new range of botanical extracts for various applications – as they are the perfect solution for answering today’s consumer needs and delivering inspiring clean label products. Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Bell explains how consumers continue to push boundaries for clean label products, driven by the ongoing health and wellness megatrend and the search for authenticity in food and beverage products.
“Authentic eating has not only become a major food and drink trend – it has also pushed the purchasing behavior of consumers to a higher level,” it says. “Consumers seek for natural and non-artificial ingredients that are constantly driving the strength of clean label within the market. A growing focus on transparency and natural claims underline the strong need for ingredients that continue to deliver higher value. Therefore, innovations with regard to clean, natural ingredients, such as botanical extracts, are a key focus for Bell Flavors & Fragrances EMEA.”
Bell’s trend for 2018: Botanical extracts on the rise
The rapid shift towards more natural and organic products is expected to drive the global level market growth of botanical extracts, says Bell.
“Botanical extracts can be derived from a huge number of plants or other botanical resources, such as fruits, leaves or flowers and are defined as complex, multi-component mixtures that are used in widespread applications across the food and beverage industry. The usage of botanical extracts in food and beverage products offers great taste as well as natural flavor, together with enhanced organoleptic characteristics and improved nutritional value – underlining its growing presence in the market. About 10 percent of global food and drink launches are currently listing herbal extracts on the pack,” the company notes.
By Gaynor Selby