Experts at Sensient Flavors LLC, Hoffman Estates, Ill. have identified 12 up-and-coming flavor trends for 2014. Encompassing flavors inspired from megatrends, including health and wellness, sensory and personalization, Sensient’s predictions include:
Balsamic Fig–A harmonious blend of full-flavored figs and aged dark balsamic vinegar. Neither too sweet nor too tart, it is a mellow combination that elevates the sensory experience when added to a variety of other flavors and works well in myriad formats.
Burnt Calamansi–A hybrid of a kumquat and mandarin orange, burnt calamansi is the next generation of citrus flavors. It has a unique citrus profile similar to a sour orange or a slightly sweeter lime with caramelized notes, with a fragrance to match.
Fernet–An aromatic spirit or bitter containing myrrh, chamomile, cardamom, aloe and saffron. A digestif popular in Italy, fernet is flavored with lengthy, and often secret, lists of spices, roots and herbs.
Ginger Plum–A juicy, sweet and tart plum with a touch of spice from ginger that delivers multiple sensory experiences.
Gochujang–Described as “the new Sriracha sauce,” gochujang is a savory and pungent fermented Korean condiment made from red chili, rice, fermented soybeans and salt.
Green Coconut–Green (young) coconut gained its initial recognition in the U.S. from the rise of popularity of coconut water, which stemmed from the claim of its superiority over traditional sports drinks.
Guasaca–A Venezuelan avocado sauce, many have likened guasaca to guacamole, but with a refreshing difference in flavor profile due to the addition of bright, fresh parsley notes.
Juniper Berries–Consumers long for the decadence of an expertly mixed cocktail in its proper type of glass. Gin, primarily flavored with juniper berries, invokes a feeling of that elegant past era.
Rhubarb–With antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, rhubarb helps boost the immune system and fight off disease.
Ras el Hanout–Its name in Arabic means “top of the shop,” or the best spices the merchant had to offer. Typically including cardamom, clove, cinnamon, chili peppers, coriander, cumin, peppercorn, paprika, fenugreek and turmeric, Ras el Hanout brings the flavors and culture of Morocco to consumers’ doorsteps.
Tayberry–A cross between a blackberry and a red raspberry, tayberries are rich in vitamins and antioxidants and a welcome addition for the health-conscious consumer.
Willamette Hop–Used primarily as a flavoring and stability agent, hops impart a bitter, tangy flavor in beer and increasingly in confections and other unexpected food products.
“Our customers increasingly look to us for on-trend consumer behavior and flavor insight to discover opportunities to offer new taste experiences,” says Teresa Olah, beverage marketing manager. “Our research process includes five research platforms, the most telling of which are the grass-roots initiatives that include market excursions that provide true insight into consumers’ ever-changing taste buds and trends of the future.”
Sensient Flavors used both structured, formal research and primary, grassroots market excursions to track, identify and predict consumer megatrends and micro trends for 2014.