Brussels Flavor Day: The Role of Flavor in Consumer Trends


22 Jun 2017 --- On June 20th, Brussels became the ‘Capital of Flavor’. The event organized by EFFA (the European Flavor Association), together with AROMA (the Belgian Flavor Association) and IOFI (the International Organization of the Flavor Industry). The event was a great success with more than 100 participants. Policy makers, customers and food and drink associations gathered for discussions about the future of food and the role that flavorings play in key consumer trends.  

Jean Robello, President of EFFA, opened the event. “It was great to see the interest that flavorings raised. It was the opportunity for policy makers, customers and the flavor industry itself to learn more about each other and our common objectives for the coming years.”  Click to Enlarge

The future was one of the key words of the day. Lidewij Edelkoort, a famous trend forecaster, inspired the audience with an outlook on consumer trends in food and flavors and how these have an impact on everyday life, highlighting that nowadays, food is even more fashionable than fashion itself. Edelkoort unveiled the main trends for the coming years, noting: “We are witnessing a Revolution of Taste, moving away from sweet to sour, tart and even bitter.” 

According to key note speaker, Edelkoort, the trend is to move away from sweet to go for rather tart and bitter notes. He told FoodIngredientsFirst that: “In that context citrus and some fruits such as cherry are the ones we will be looking at in the coming years.”

Moving away from sugar is also one of the goals of policy makers, trying to inspire a more conscious diet and asking the food industry to propose products with less sugar, salt and fat. In order to be successful these products must also be tasty. 

Another important criterion was sustainability, which Sven Ballschmiede, Executive Director of IOFI highlighted as Click to Enlargesomething the industry has been working for years “Be it at taking care of raw materials, ensuring an efficient use of limited resources or helping to reduce the environmental impact, the flavor industry is part of a circular economy.” Since the Flavor Industry invests 10% of the turnover in innovation, the panel also discussed the creativity aspect, and how important it is to adapt to consumer’s expectations, which are linked to memories and emotions and therefore can vary much from one country to another.  

Tasters could choose between two types of barbecue flavored chips, one of them with 55% reduced salt. EFFA Communications Director, Jimena Gómez de laFlor notes:  “When we asked which one was the reduced salt one, our visitors had difficulties to answer, and a few got it wrong since they were both very tasty!” This supported the idea that flavorings can help consumers to have a conscious diet without renouncing on good taste. 

The most popular atelier, where attendees had the opportunity to see the process of creation of a flavoring and how it progresses to a final application. Two professional flavorists gave attendees the opportunity to choose among different tonalities of vanilla and citrus flavorings, explaining the wide range of possibilities, and how they are connected to cultural preferences, memories and emotions. Once each delegate chose one, the flavorist put a few drops into a creamy filling in order to create personalized macarons for each attendee.   

This event was the first one organized by the National, European and Global associations together, and will be the first one of many ‘FlavorDays’ around Europe. Next stop is the UK. London FlavorDay is on September 21st,  celebrating the 100th anniversary of the UK Flavor Association, followed closely by the Paris Flavor Day on November 16th organized by the French Flavor Association (SNIAA). Also Copenhagen, Berlin, and several more cities are planning similar events. 

by Elizabeth Green

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