Flavor trends 2018: Innova Market Insights tips overseas influences, plant goodness & indulgence as key drivers

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17 Jul 2018 --- Today’s connected world creates an opportunity for new ethnic flavors, street food inspired meals and the revival of culinary classics. Innova Market Insights has reported an average annual growth of 20 percent in food and beverage launches with global flavors (Global, 2013-2017), with growth in platforms such as chili, herb and floral flavors. With the plant-based trend still going strong, consumers are looking for innovative ways to take the benefits of plants into their daily lives. Meanwhile, innovation relying on decadent flavor application, from desserts to alcohol or flavors that evoke indulgence, will continue to grow and remain paramount in the industry. 

There has never been so much variety and spread in the choice of authentic cuisines around the world. The connected world has led consumers of all ages to become more knowledgeable of other cultures and has created an opening for visually appealing products with high authenticity and specific ingredients from across the globe. 

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Innova Market Insights:
Taste the Trend Pavilion at IFT 2018, Chicago

In 2017, 23 percent of the new product launches tracked with an ethnic flavor were private label brands relative to 19 percent in 2013. NPD based on world flavor ranges have become increasingly popular, especially for the snacks and ready meals sectors. 

Food truck and street food flavors have been a source of inspiration for NPD for retail, according to Innova Market Insights. According to Innova Market Insight data, there has been a 24 percent growth in F&B launches with a food truck or street food claim (Global, 2017 vs. 2016).

There has also been a revival of classic flavors and cuisines, which are being reworked from comfort food to restaurant quality dishes. More consumers also are choosing to recreate dishes from around the world in the comfort of their own home. 

At this year’s IFT, in Chicago (July 16-18), Innova Market Insights presented its ethnic flavors trends, amongst others, at their Taste the Trend pavilion. The pavilion will exhibit a series of presentations on consumer trends, taking development forward, with insights on packaging and flavor drivers.  

Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Irene Kersbergen, Market Analyst at Innova Market Insights says: “Further growth of world flavors is expected as globalization has sparked the consumer’s curiosity to discover new food and beverage products. Brands could drive deeper connections with the adventurous consumer by satisfying their curiosity through these exotic world flavors, but also by presenting new food experiences and telling the unique story behind the product.”

Below is a summary of the Top Ten Flavors Trends for 2018:
Overseas influences: The connected world has led consumers of all ages to become more knowledgeable of other cultures. Resulting in a large variety and spread in the choice of authentic cuisines around the world. This has created an opening for ethnic flavors, street food inspired goods and a revival of cuisine classics.

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Innova Market Insights Flavors Trends for 2018

The indulgent element: Today, consumers face the largest variety of food choices ever. In the dense marketplace, food and beverage manufacturers and marketing strategists try standing out using bold, tempting and indulging flavors to create excitement around their brand. 

The chili statement: As the population becomes more diverse, consumers are embracing bold flavors that were once unfamiliar. For example, simply adding peppers to a product is not enough, as consumers are seeking intense experiences with flavor combinations that challenge the normal level of spiciness. For example, the average annual growth of food and beverage launches with selected chili flavor (Global, 2013-2017) is +59 percent Sriracha chili, +19 percent Habanero chili and +15 percent Chipotle chili. 

Blossom appeal: Consumers’ desire for clean, natural and real ingredients has fueled the use of floral flavor applications in the food and beverage industry. A growing number of products communicate the natural infusion of floral flavors targeting low-sugar and low-calorie demands or target seasonal goods by associating flowers to the time of year.  For example, Innova Market Insights reports a 31 percent increase in average annual growth of food and beverage launches with lavender flavor (Global, 2013-2017).

Harmony of herbs: The positive taste associations of botanicals and their health benefits, ingredients and flavors are popping up across many categories from sauces to energy bars and even carbonates. 

Processing for flavor: As consumers become more concerned about the processing their foods endure to make it to the table, techniques perceived as more natural help to provide reassurance and preserve or enhance flavor. As a result, a revival is seen of traditional processes, as well as the creation of new ones, which deliver health and taste benefits through a more natural means. According to Innova Market Insights, 1 in 3 US consumers have increased their consumption of salty snacks due to more variety and novelty being available. 

A Click to Enlargetouch of freshness: As health-conscious consumers are increasingly looking for light and fresh goods and associating flavors are gaining momentum. Lemon, mint and lime flavors will continue to freshen-up a wide range of categories and hints of flavors provide a subtle refreshment. Innova Market Insights reports a 21 percent increase in average annual growth of food and beverage launches with mint and menthol flavors (Global, 2013-2017).

By Elizabeth Green

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