A taste of food and beverage innovation in 2017

Posted on 1 April, 2017

One of the main drivers when purchasing a product is taste. That is why, every year, experts from all over the world try and get ahead of consumers and define taste trends, so food retail experts can take note. So what are the tastes dominating our shopping baskets in 2017?

Our sense of taste is directly connected to the emotional part of the brain¾the amygdala¾and it can create strong emotional connections with consumers. That is why taste and the sensations we experience when trying a certain food or beverage are important.

Floral, spicy and a return to childhood

According to Comax Flavors (and Mintel agrees), floral flavours will become more popular in 2017. This responds to the demand from consumers for more natural products and, in this regard, the food industry continues to search for innovative formulas. We will see many more floral combinations in product launches for 2017, such as cranberry with a touch of hibiscus, vanilla with orange blossom or raspberry with lavender.

Spicy tastes have been a hot trend in recent years and will continue to feature strongly in 2017. In other words, cardamom, ginger, curry and cinnamon will be all over the place. Meanwhile, a rise in smoked flavours is also being predicted for a range of products, from craft beer to snacks and Spanish smoked paprika-flavoured popcorn.

Another trend highlighted by Comax for 2017 is a return to the tastes of childhood, which include marshmallows and milk and cookies.

The latest: ancestral flavours

Another classic report on flavour trends is provided by McCormick & Ducros. It suggests that this year, we will move beyond chia seeds and oats, predicting a return to ancestral grains for breakfast, including sorghum, a gluten-free wholegrain from Africa, and congee rice from south-east Asia. More world flavours will come from herbs and spices such as cumin, coriander, turmeric and cardamom.

McCormick & Ducros also say we will come back to aromas and glazes from grilled roast meats and the creamy texture and flavour of egg yolks.

Over the coming months, we will be combining the intensity and power of pepper tempered with caramel touches from natural sweet ingredients, such as brown rice syrup, sweet sorghum syrup, barley malt syrup, coconut oil and panela unrefined cane sugar. In addition, 2017 will be a year for exotic tropical fruit, which accentuate pepper’s citrus touches, with dishes featuring pitaya, mangosteen, green mango and jackfruit (currently very popular among growers in Malaga, Spain).

We have also taken note of the announcement by Firmenich in Switzerland that declares cucumber to be the flavour of the year for 2017. Apparently, global use of cucumber as a flavour increased by 392% from 2011 to 2016, with its light, refreshing, green, clean and natural taste being added to a range of products, from potato chips to yogurt-based sauces and dumplings. As Firmenich suggests, consumers are looking for products “that not only taste good, but are also good for them.”

Future trends

Finally, we would like to recommend an article from UK newspaper The Telegraph, which confirms taste experts’ theories for this year and provides some of the star dishes for 2017, including vegetable noodles (made from edamame, courgette or even peas), poké, a bowl of raw marinated fish with rice (possibly the “new sushi”), and kombucha tea.

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