Every year, flavor and seasoning companies predict “the next big thing” in popular tastes. Here’s a summary of the 2013 flavor forecast from McCormick & Co., Sparks, MD. Alan Wilson, company chairman, president and CEO, predicted these concepts would drive flavor innovation during the next several years.

“Around the world, we're seeing a fascinating collision of tradition and innovation,” said Kevan Vetter, the company’s executive chef. “Authentic, real ingredients are still at the core — though now they're being enjoyed in unique, updated ways that reflect a much more personalized approach to cooking and eating.”

McCormick’s team of flavor futurists identified five leading global food trends and explained them with 10 flavor combinations.

No Apologies Necessary: diving head-first into sumptuous flavors to enjoy the gratification of a momentary escape. Flavor combinations: 1) decadent bitter chocolate, sweet basil and passion fruit; and 2) black rum, charred orange and allspice.

Personally Handcrafted: a hands-on approach showcasing the best of ourselves. Flavor combinations: 1) cider, sage and molasses; and 2) smoked tomato, rosemary, chili peppers and sweet onions.

Empowered Eating: creating health-and-wellness harmony through a highly personalized, flexible approach. Flavor combinations:  1) farro grain, blackberry and clove; and 2) market-fresh broccoli and dukkah (a blend of cumin, coriander, sesame and nuts).

Hidden Potential: a waste-not mentality, uncovering the fullest flavors from every last part of the ingredient. Flavor combinations: 1) hearty meat cuts, plantain and stick cinnamon; and 2) artichoke, paprika and hazelnut.

Global My Way: discovering the unlimited flavor possibilities of global ingredients beyond traditional roles in ethnic cuisines. Flavor combinations: 1) Japanese katsu sauce and oregano; and 2) anise and cajeta (Mexican caramel sauce).

The company’s annual flavor forecast is created by its team of chefs, sensory scientists, dietitians, trend trackers, marketing experts and food technologists from around the world. It has a record of success predicting consumer taste trends. For example, the 2003 forecast featured chipotle, a flavor virtually unknown in the broad consumer marketplace. Since then, US menu items mentioning chipotle flavor increased by 214%, according to Mintel.