Global ingredients to inspire the experimental chef in 2022, flags Solina
10 Dec 2021 --- In recent years, the availability of global ingredients and dishes has grown exponentially, and according to Solina, the boundaries of these ingredients are becoming fluid. The company has coined this as “a blessing for the experimental chef.”
Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Anne Benoist, market research and consumer insights manager at Solina, explains how COVID-19 will impact flavor demand in 2022.
“Changes to loss in taste perception is one of the impacts of COVID-19, which has shone a spotlight on the importance of flavor in day-to-day lives. As a result, many consumers are looking for strong flavors: the bigger, the better,” she underscores.
“Consumers are happy to experiment with new tastes and global ingredients in this journey or flavorful spice blends and pastes such as fermented hot sauce or spicy sambal pastes in the Asian cuisine and Korean gochujang, for example.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has played a crucial role in the rise of foreign influences in the foodservice sector, says Solina.
Professional chefs more frequently search for less familiar seasonings from other cultures and countries due to this.
Different varieties of chili pepper, lemongrass and pomegranate – are all ingredients that many home chefs have started using since the pandemic. This way, of course, means that consumers can do a bit of “armchair traveling,” Solina highlights.
On the topic of flavor, Solina flags how it is often said there are five tastes – sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami – but an emerging savory sensation named kokumi is described as “the next umami 2.0.”
Notably, the cultural influence of East Asia is growing at pace, says Benoist.
“Korean inspiration is frequently added to dishes, such as tteokbokki, bulgori, fried chicken and Korean corn dogs.”
Meanwhile, Japanese food, which is already globally well-established, is also further explored with lesser-known spices and condiments including furikake, kanzuri and yuzu kosho coming into play, she adds.
In Taiwanese flavors, sun-dried ribbon noodles, Taiwanese fried chicken, boba and bao burgers are also popular and expected to rise in 2022. Further, regional Chinese flavors will continue to gain traction in spicy noodles and chili crisps.
Hyperdiversity in dishes and ingredients
To illustrate the trend of hyperdiversity, Solina has identified four notable leaders in the taste arena:
- #1 Asian edamame
A recent discovery is its whole, immature soybeans – also known as edamame, which can be found in Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Hawaiian cuisines.
Edamame beans are very nutritious and are, therefore, popular with consumers in search of international and healthy foods. They can be prepared as a snack, added to salads or a poké bowl, and much more, underscores Solina.
- #2 Versatile bouillons
Solina’s foodservice division has combined the complex and intense flavors of more than 15 ingredients in a series of versatile bouillons. Among the ingredients, there are many eastern influences such as coriander, ginger, lemongrass, star anise, chili and soy sauce. According to the company, the result is Asian vegetable, miso and meat bouillons that are predicted to be an essential part of every professional kitchen. They can be used as a base, flavor enhancer, or finish off a dish.
- #3 West African Jollof
Jollof is the paella of West Africa. The rice is smoky, spicy and aromatic. It can be cooked in a bouillon of tomatoes, onions, chili peppers, spices and other seasonings. The tomatoes give the dish its typical red color, and any meat, fish or vegetables can be added. Solina says that every chef puts their own stamp on this classic rice dish in Senegal, Nigeria and Ghana.
- #4 Peruvian ceviche
Ceviche is made from white fish, which is not cooked but marinated in a lime and lemon juice mixture and flavored with herbs and spices. The acids in the juices and the proteins of the whitefish produce a chemical reaction that cooks the fish. This summer dish can be adapted with local ingredients.
Afghan, Syrian, Georgian, Mongolian food trends, consumers want to try it all. And now, Solina believes the proverbial boundaries between food and beverages are also disappearing.
Think of the use of espresso for rubs or green tea in marinades. In short, everything is possible and permitted; even cheeseburgers with Vietnamese bánh mí and tacos with maple syrup, the company shares.
Many chefs have called the culinary status quo into question with ingredients, cooking techniques and dishes from around the world.
And it is not to say it’s not authentic, Solina argues. But, one thing is for sure, global influence will long continue to shape the flavors and aromas used by professional cooks, the company concludes.
By Elizabeth Green
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