Itzel Rincon, NPI/sales director for the Americas, Chaucer Foods, recently connected with Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery to discuss flavor trends and what they might mean for the snack and bakery arena.

Jenni Spinner: Please share how the Chaucer team keeps up with current and emerging consumer trends.

Itzel Rincon: As an organization rooted in a passion to uncover solutions, each team at Chaucer Foods, from R&D to marketing, works together to monitor and analyze consumer trends and behaviors to remain innovative. Our experienced, global team can source ingredients worldwide and actively observe regional trends, allowing us to help customers develop products that don’t just follow trends—but set them. 

JS: As you mention, consumers are increasingly interested in natural flavors, seeking out products that have vibrant, authentic taste without chemicals. Please tell us about that, and how Chaucer is working to meet those demands.

IR: Shoppers in 2023 are all about foods and beverages that are bold and flavorful but don’t want those attributes to come from chemical ingredients. Projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.5% by 2029, the global natural flavors market is expanding as consumers demand clean-label alternatives to vibrant flavors. In fact, 76% say it’s important that food products don’t contain artificial flavors. Whether it's dragon fruit or raspberry, people are on the hunt for natural products that excite. 

Our freeze-dried ingredients retain their delicious flavor, which allows formulators to infuse enticing flavors within their innovative products, without having to include a long list of chemical ingredients. From passion fruit smoothies that make people feel like they’re on a tropical beach, or an indulgent dark chocolate, raspberry and brioche treat that cures a sweet tooth; our ingredients help brands develop the natural fruity flavor products they’re looking for. 

JS Similarly, consumers in the U.S. (and elsewhere) are looking for snacks and bakery products with international flavors, drawn from different cultures and regions. How can companies like Chaucer incorporate those worldly tastes into their products? 

IR: Today, shoppers are increasingly interested in tasting products with unfamiliar and exotic flavors. With a finger on the pulse of consumers, the Chaucer team can help customers incorporate these in-demand global tastes through our flavorful ingredients. At Chaucer Foods, we offer a range of freeze-dried ingredients that help add a wow factor to products, such as carrots, leeks, pomegranates, and sour cherries. Our team can help identify trending tastes and source the nutritious ingredients that deliver on the flavors your customers crave.

JS: Are there any other flavor trends you see increasing in popularity, or coming on the horizon?

IR: In addition to today’s global hunt for natural, bold, and new flavors, future consumers will be experimenting with unique and uncommon twists. The normal, everyday flavor combinations are now no longer enough to grab a shopper’s attention, with 74% of people saying they like food and drink products with new and unusual or exotic flavors. To excite, brands must rethink their portfolio to incorporate new tastes in unexpected categories, such as a dark chocolate brownie with a hint of habanero pepper or a fusion of cultural foods like a pierogi stuffed with a doner kebab filling. These are some of the trends we’re seeing and, with the speed of innovation across the industry, there’s limited time for formulators to take the lead before they fall behind.