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FLAVOR FORECAST 2018 Top flavor houses and experts predict which flavor trends will be big in the co

Taste is king when it comes to the

success of a food or beverage. To tap

into what’s hot and what’s not in the

world of natural f avors, Nutritional Outlook

once again turned to top f avor houses and

experts for its annual forecast of which flavor

trends will be big in the coming year.

Many of the experts Nutritional Outlook

spoke with for this story agree that in 2018,

authenticity and transparency will reign supreme,

with f avor origins front and center.

And, continuing a trend from years past, consumers

will continue to demand new and exotic

flavors, as well as upgraded but familiar

flavors both savory and sweet. Soumya Nair,

director, marketing insights, Kerry Ingredients

(Beloit, WI), points to the company’s Flavor

Forecast program, which predicts that this year,

“authentic f avor experiences” from around the

world, as well as continued demand for clean

ingredients, will be major market drivers.

Greg Kaminski, executive research chef,

Synergy Flavors (Wauconda, IL), agrees.

According to Mintel, he says, “Millennials

are interested in different prof les, ethnic

infusions, and the inferred flavors that

are imparted by using specif c preparation

techniques.” Millennials are largely to

credit for increased attention to ingredient

origins, as well as for products that boast a

cleaner label.

Nair adds that more than 75% of consumers

are interested in learning more

about the ingredients in products.” Cleanlabel,

she continues, “has charged the food

industry with a new challenge to meet

consumer desire for organic, GMO-free,

and artifcial-free food and beverages.”

Authentically Delicious

According to Nair, an overarching trend

that is likely to influence flavors of all

kinds is authenticity for flavors from cuisines

that consumers may not be familiar

with. “The thirst for authentic experiences

has seen a surge of unique flavors

and blends that are true to the cuisine, inspired

by the culinary scene,” she says. No

longer are consumers content with just

sriracha—though it’s is still very much indemand.

Today’s shoppers are looking for

brand-new cultural culinary experiences

that ring true to global cuisines.

In no culinary tradition is this more evident,

she says, than in Asian cuisines. “Simmering

over the last few years,” Nair explains,

“Asian cuisines are ready to take America by

storm—Korean, Filipino, Indonesian, and Indian.

Flavor blends that are unique to these

cuisines will of er consumers a new level of

authentic sophistication.”

Spice is Still Nice

And spicy flavors are major players in man

Asian cuisines. In 2018, spices and herbs are

likely to remain near the top of consumers’

minds—particularly when those herbs and

spices are culturally authentic. Nair says that

consumer familiarity with spicy f avors like

sriracha has paved the way for other, more

exotic f avors. And consumers are lining up

to try something a little out of the ordinary

like never before. As the population becomes

more diverse, consumers that would

once have shied away from such bold f avors

are now embracing the unfamiliar.

Speaking of sriracha, Nair points to data

from Mintel indicating that sriracha-flavored

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