Kerry’s 2021 Taste Charts: Traveling through taste, nostalgia and healthful ingredients to star
12 Jan 2021 --- Kerry has released its annual Taste Charts for 2021, uncovering flavors and ingredients set to inspire innovation and taste excellence across the F&B landscape. Consumers will “travel the world” with their taste buds while placing a renewed focus on comforting, traditional tastes and well-being.
The taste and nutrition company has pegged nostalgic flavors to boom during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, while global inspiration and health and wellness themes will remain paramount.
“The pandemic accelerated consumer trends as it created a feeling of urgency to look after their holistic wellness and the environment. At the same time, in their attempt to cope with the pandemic, consumers have been and are continuing to seek ways to comfort and indulge themselves while they cope,” says Christina Matrozou, marketing manager for Taste in Europe and Russia.
She believes that pandemic changes may become permanent. “Undeniably, the level of urgency will settle down. The trending approach toward a sustainable future and to sustainable nutrition is here to stay as consumers continue to demonstrate an increased interest in the inherent wellness benefits of products incorporating simple and recognizable natural, organic, non-GMO, and free-from ingredients,” explains Matrozou.
Comfort and familiarity on the rise
A trend toward familiar and nostalgic tastes, which resurged during the pandemic, is anticipated to continue over the coming year as people seek comfort from their food and beverages, says Kerry.
Classic desserts such as banana split, apple pie and custard are featured as flavors in different categories – including those in the sweet and beverage categories.
“Dessert-inspired flavors are emerging in the beverage category, and alcohol notes, such as gin and whiskey, are rising in the sweet category,” Matrozou affirms.
“Time-honored flavors such as chocolate and vanilla are also popular in the sweet and beverage category, as are mushroom and tomato in savory.”
Cross category flavors are highlighted in Innova Market Insights’ eighth top trend for 2021, “Product Mashups: When Trends Collide.”
Mainstream tastes were important for European consumers in 2020, and they will continue to resonate in 2021 as people will continue to seek out the old-time classics we all know and love, she highlights.
“Traditional mainstream flavors like vanilla, chocolate and barbecue are doing very well during the pandemic as they fulfill the need for nostalgic tastes that are giving considerable comfort to consumers during these stressful times,” comments Matrozou.
Traveling through taste
In Europe, specifically, restrictions on movement have led to consumers traveling the world with their taste buds.
This is reflected in Kerry’s Taste Charts, with a rise in Korean, Indian, Thai, Greek and Spanish cuisine, as well as exotic notes like calamansi and acerola.
Trends around health and well-being continue to gather speed and interest among consumers, while sustainable sourcing is also growing in importance.
“2020 has been a year like no other. During the lockdown period, consumers stayed connected online and continued to share the food that excited them, augmenting the need for playful textures and exciting flavors,” Matrozou explains.
Meanwhile, botanicals such as lavender, turmeric and basil can meet consumer needs across F&B products that support the quest for holistic well-being, she adds.
“Fermentation emerged across several product categories, with vinegar and pickled becoming a top trend and flavor note. The traditional citrus, chocolate and BBQ flavors will remain relevant in 2021, but consumers expect these tastes through flavors that are more sustainable or have provenance claims,” she continues.
Sustainability drives trends
For Matrozou, these days, it’s a question of how to deliver naturally formulated flavors while also taking care to sustainably manage the taste and flavors’ natural sources.
“It is vital to ensure that the natural sources can be replenished and sustainability is a key priority for the Kerry taste program. Kerry’s sustainable program offers a wide range of intriguing possibilities covering different profiles,” she continues.
Some examples in the citrus tonality area include citrus de Menton and Iranian black lemon, flags Matrozou.
Spotlight on food trends
Kerry’s Trendspotter, a proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) that predicts food trends from social media content, was used to provide additional perspective, inspiration, and validation of flavors and ingredients influencing the marketplace.
“The Taste Charts supports manufacturers by providing an expert overview of key, mainstream, up-and-coming and emerging flavors and ingredients across categories. This helps accelerate new product development times by making it easier to select flavors during the brainstorm and development phase,” Matrozou concludes.
Edited by Elizabeth Green
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