Finding flavors when targeting trends

by Jeff Gelski
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Salted caramel remains a top flavor trend.

CHICAGO – A new food or beverage may cater to a “clean” label crowd. It may satisfy a craving for a bold ethnic taste, or it may serve as an indulgent reward at the day’s end. No matter a new product’s targeted trend, formulators should factor in flavors’ influence.

Ryan G. Smith, vice-president and general manager of Kerry Americas Region, gave examples of how flavors may match with trend-hitting items in a presentation March 3 in Chicago at the American Society of Baking’s BakingTech 2015.

Products aimed at “Generation Green” should have ingredients from the earth that are non-bioengineered/non-G.M.O, he said. Organic ingredients are a plus. “Generation Green” consumers want to recognize names on the label, such as rosemary, kale, spinach or basil.

New products for “Crave New World” might have an ethnic tie-in and bold flavors. Consumers in the trend want to try things that their neighbors have yet to try. Possible bold flavors include sriracha, gochujang and cumin.

Products for the “custoMYzed” trend could be gluten-free, high in fiber or low in sugar or sodium.

“It’s about me, and it’s about my needs, and the flavor has to satisfy what I’m looking for,” Mr. Smith said.

Formulators should remember repeat purchases in this trend will depend on taste.

Products for “Everyday Luxury” should be indulgent and yet perhaps a smaller, portion controlled item, one not too high in calories or fat. In this trend, people think they have earned a reward at the end of a work day. Flavors to consider are licorice, salted caramel, dark chocolate and crème bulee.

Mr. Smith also gave examples of how flavors specifically are affecting grain-based foods. Bread innovations are coming about through savory flavors such as pretzel, cheese, butter and honey. Cookies are becoming more indulgent through white fudge chunks, cherry vanilla and triple chocolate. In the cake arena, chocolate reigns with double chocolate and chocolate chunk serving as evidence.
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