Top trends shaping global tastes

A new report highlights ingredients and tastes influencing consumer demand, from nostalgic tastes to novel flavours
Italian rustic kitchen table with pasta, lamb ribs , variety of colourful side dishes ready to eat
Kerry's annual review looks at the most impactful macro taste trends influencing food and beverages across the world. (Shutterstock/Akhenaton)

Bacon sriracha mac & cheese burger might soon answer the “what’s for dinner?” question.

That’s one flavourful dish that hits on new taste trends identified by Kerry, a taste and nutrition company based in Beloit, Wisc.

The Global Taste Trends report maps out the key tastes linked to trends across the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, Latin America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions. In its report, Kerry identified seven global trends impacting taste, showed how they differ in each region, and shared unique dish ideas that fit the trends.

“The pandemic accelerated consumer trends as it created a feeling of urgency—an urgency to look after holistic wellness and the environment,” said Leigh-Anne Vaughan, Kerry’s global strategic marketing director of taste, in a Q&A supplied by the company.

“We are noticing an increased focus on flavours with a healthy halo association... such as ginger and mint trending in Brazil, and kombucha and hemp in Europe.” In the U.S., consumers are seeking ginseng and reishi and maca while in the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions, goji berry and basil have a healthy halo perception.

“At the same time, in an attempt to cope with the stress of the pandemic, consumers have been and are continuing to seek ways to comfort and indulge themselves while they cope,” said Vaughan. “Comforting nostalgic tastes also look different across the world—from peanut butter in Canada to chicha morada [a beverage made with purple corn] in Central America and lychee in the APMEA.”

Here’s a look at the top seven trends:

Nostalgia: Heightened by the pandemic, consumers are gravitating toward comfort food and beverages, and nostalgic and classic flavours that are familiar and “craveable” to the entire family. Example: Bacon sriracha mac & cheese burger, an indulgent take on classic comfort food.

Seasonality: People have come to expect limited-edition favourites associated with a season or flavour. They look forward to popular mainstay flavours, a spin on familiar favourites or new additions. Excitement around these seasonal items gives people the means to break monotony. Example: Pit smoked BBQ seasoning.

Enticing eats: In an increasingly social and digital consumer marketplace, visually impactful food and beverages have given rise to new flavour, texture and ingredient innovation. Example: Matcha lime green coffee sparkling energy drink.

Taste exploration: With or without COVID-19 travel restrictions, consumers continue their love for travelling through their taste buds. They seek authentic yet accessible cuisines from distinct countries, regions and localities, whether locally sourced or internationally inspired. Example: Korean kimchi crinkle cut chips.

Novel flavours: Novel, unknown and unfamiliar flavours pique consumer curiosity, whether from fantasy flavours, mystery flavours or getting acquainted with unfamiliar flavours in product extensions or limited editions. Example: Blueberry lavender chamomile hard seltzer.

Acceptable sweetness: Consumers are increasingly focused on having to manage their sugar consumption. Products touting lower sugar, reduced sweetness and clean label sugar alternatives are gaining attention. Example: Brown butter honey mascarpone dip.

Healthy halo: Consumers are interested in ingredients and flavours that provide not only an enjoyable taste experience, but also provide perceived health and functional benefits. This focus has dramatically increased during COVID-19, as people turn to solutions that support their immediate and long-term health goals. Example: Strawberry vanilla kombucha oat frozen dessert.

The full report is available for download on Kerry’s website.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds