Today’s consumers are a diverse and growing multicultural mix of individuals, says Comax Flavors, Melville, NY. Younger demographics and consumers’ changing eating habits are pushing the envelope for innovative flavor combinations, versatile ingredients and unique textures.

In response to changing times, Comax Flavors recently revealed flavor trends for 2015 in four distinct groups, each featuring five different flavors: Melting Pot, In a Nutshell, Breakfast Anytime and Coffee House. Flavors in each collections are versatile and can be used in a variety of food and beverage applications, including baking goods, confections, dairy, ice cream and seasonings.

Melting Pot

Assorted Vegetables

According to the U.S. 2012 Census, both the Hispanic and Asian populations are expected to double by 2060. The Hispanic population is projected to increase from 53.3 million in 2012 to 128.8 million, while the Asian population is expected to grow from 15.9 million to 34.4 million.

“The U.S. is a true melting pot, and we want to offer versatile flavors that cater to the large and growing multicultural population and younger demographics,” states Catherine Armstrong, vice president of corporate communications for the company. Flavors in this group include Brigadeiros (Brazilian Chocolate Bon Bon), Butterscotch Curry, Cherry Yuzu, Sriracha Maple and Za’tar.

In a Nutshell

Assorted Nuts

According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the value of U.S. tree nut production in 2012 was more than $7 billion, with almonds, walnuts, pistachios and pecans accounting for most of the sales. Nuts are increasing in popularity due to their nutritional properties including omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins and minerals.

“To address the health and wellness trend, we developed a collection of powerhouse nut flavors to emphasize their diverse tastes and textures,” notes Armstrong. Flavors in this group include Almond Rose Shortbread, Bourbon Caramel Pistachio, Pecan Chipotle, Pumpkin Praline Fudge and Vanilla Walnut Fig.

Breakfast Anytime

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner Neon Sign

Driven by the “snackification” of America, more consumers are eating around the clock. Breakfast is no longer just a morning meal; it’s being eaten throughout the day and night. Innovative breakfast items that are portable and convenient are emerging in both consumer packaged goods and quick service restaurants.

“As categories are blurring, there are now more breakfast options than ever before, and we want to meet the consumers' changing tastes and behaviors,” Armstrong says. Flavors in this group include Chicken and Waffles, Honey Banana Oatmeal, Savory Butter, S'mores Pancakes and Strawberry Coconut Milk.

Coffee House

According to the NCA National Coffee Drinking Trends (NCDT) 2014 market research study, Americans daily gourmet coffee consumption driven by espresso-based beverages is up 34% versus 31% in 2013. Mintel expects the ready-to-drink coffee market, which includes refrigerated and shelf-stable products, to grow to $2.6 billion by 2020. Furthermore, according to IRI data, shelf-stable cappuccinos and iced coffees increased 10.6% in dollar sales in the 52 weeks ending July 13, 2014 compared with the prior-year period.

“To tap into the convenience trend and meet the demand for Barista-style coffees, we created a range of unique coffee flavor combinations that appeal to a wide audience,” says Armstrong. Flavors in this group include Affogato, Cabernet Espresso, Cinnamon Brew, CoffTea and Vietnamese Iced Coffee.