2021 has been a roller coaster for all of us. From indulging in comfort food to trying new food fusions, there have been preference changes caused by the onset of COVID-19.

Consumers have been more concerned about their health and what they eat, and this focus will prevail for years. Health and wellness remain a priority among people. Consumers are looking for ingredients that provide nutritional benefits in their everyday diet, says flavors and ingredients manufacturing company Embassy Ingredients.

These consumer habits will increase the demand for natural, clean label, and plant-based products into 2022 and beyond.

Embassy Ingredients insights experts have researched the top trends to make your “new year” more focused. Let’s see what these trends bring for the bakers and food manufacturers.

Plant-based power

Plant-based food has taken the market by storm. With every passing year there is growth in the percentage of people moving towards Veganism.

Research shows, the increase in demand for sustainable products will result in a substantial rise in the plant-based food market by 2030. To keep up with the trend and growing demand, food and beverage companies across the globe have started to broaden their portfolio of plant- based options to serve the consumers better.

In the future, plant-based foods will be an integral part of all restaurants and grocery stores. Care for sustainability, animal welfare, and environmental impact have been the key factor for this change.

Clean-label natural color

It is often said that we eat with our eyes first. The act of food consumption is a multi-sensory experience and how food looks is as important as how it is prepared. In an increasingly health-conscious world, the terms "organic" and "natural" are becoming more and more significant. And when it comes to color additives, the solution comes from nature itself.

Clean label trend indicates that the food is prepared with natural color and flavor. Natural food products offer various health benefits to consumers, leading to a shift from the use of synthetic products.

Embassy sees a tremendous growth in the natural space and predicts that the natural color market is estimated to double in next ten years.

To go with the trend, Embassy Ingredients have come up with a new product line of clean label NECOL colors which offer a variety of vibrant natural colors derived from plant pigments for a wide range of applications.

According to Embassy, with the growing craze for social media, consumers have been looking for products that not only taste good but also look Instagrammable.

Baking will come up with a spicy & ethnic twist

With these emerging trends, the focus to deliver new and exciting flavors hasn’t gone down. Last year was all about comfort and indulgence, but 2022 will going to be spicy. Flavors like Nashville Mac & Cheese, Buffalo, Mango Habanero, Chili Raspberry, Mexican Hot Chocolate, Cardamom, Allspice will bring a new twist to pies, cookies, pastries, and more.

With spicy getting hotter in the new year, fusion flavors does not lose its charm either. A great way to innovate is to combine a familiar flavor with an all-new one, and that’s how the bakers will bring ethnic flavors in their applications. Ethnic trends will come up in a food truck format offering exciting new flavors: BBQ, Olive-Pesto, Onion & Cheese, Chili-Garlic will be some of the top picks.

In the coming years, we will see clean-label and plant-based products with some exciting flavors and vibrant natural colors in all segments of the market.