Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery recently was able to talk to Soumya Nair, global consumer research and insights director at Kerry, Beloit, WI, about 2022 flavor trends, as well as flavors that will be growing in popularity this year.


Liz Parker: What are some flavors that will be trending for 2022?

Soumya Nair: In salty snacks, with the growth in popcorn, we are seeing more sweet flavors appear in the traditional salty snack space driven by LTO flavors like peppermint, s’mores, toffee, and maple. Cheese continues to be a significant flavor in salty snacks, but this year we see provenance and varieties of cheese playing a stronger role. For instance, Provolone, Pepper Jack, and Asiago will inspire more sophisticated cheese-flavored snacks. 

Chilis and spicy flavors continue to be popular in salty snacks but we are now seeing it become more popular to call out named source peppers like habanero, ghost chili, and hatch valley chili. This year marks the first year that chili as a flavor theme in salty snacks stands in the Mainstream position on our charts, signifying the growing American appetite for adventure and heat. 

In the sweet space of bakery and snacking, overly indulgent and seasonal flavors remain popular with the flavors of sweet treats like key lime pie and rocky road being recreated into new formats. As consumers seek conventional twists and flavors that surprise and delight, savory botanicals such as rosemary and sage have been rising alongside the sweeter botanicals such as lavender and rose. 


LP: How does this differ vs. 2021 trends?

SN: Consumers turned heavily to nostalgic and comfort flavors and foods in 2020 and 2021. Those flavors won’t go away in 2022 but we’ll see new and exciting flavors paired with familiar formats and tastes and vice versa. Nostalgic and seasonal flavors will get a twist with unexpected flavor combinations like sweet heat or sweet and savory or through novels spins like celebrity and brand collaborations.  A significant change over the past year has been the consumer desire for indulgent flavors in healthier products, such as Crème Brule protein bars or mango cardamom flavored yogurt.  


LP: Any flavors that will grow in popularity for 2022?

SN: With many consumers still unable to travel, authentic and international flavors will continue to grow in popularity, highlighted in our Cuisine Chart. Most common in snacking are Mexican and Indian cuisine with flavors such as curry, tikka masala, [and] Mexican taco being highlighted for 2022. 

COVID-19 has accelerated consumers’ focus on health and wellness and therefore they are looking for better-for-you snacks and baked goods that still taste great. Spirulina, matcha, and turmeric all appear in our Salty Snack Taste Charts as Up & Coming and Emerging flavors. Furthermore, our ingredient charts highlight the functional health halo around these ingredients that is emerging as a consumer need in salty snacks.