Hot and spicy, mac ‘n’ cheese, natural, healthy, clean label and cheap are just a handful of the demands ingredients firms face when developing snack seasonings, Kerry Ingredients & Flavors says.
BakeryandSnacks.com got exclusive insight from three staff at Kerry Ingredients & Flavors about the hottest snack seasoning trends and the challenges faced in the laboratory.
Speaking to the site at Snaxpo 2013, vice president of snack application flavors Dennis Fechhelm said the two newest flavor trends for snacks are spicy Hispanic and Americano; like macaroni and cheese or baby back ribs.
“I think the population is looking for new and different types of flavors,” Fechhelm said.
The vice president suggested that the soaring popularity of Hispanic tastes was being driven by the growing US Hispanic population and non-Hispanic familiarity with traditional South American foods.
He noted that clean label and natural demands, while not new, remain a very prominent demand alongside these new taste twists.
In the lab with R&D
Carolina Dicolla, R&D manager of snack application flavors, and Stephen Cobbe, R&D manager for lipids, emulsifiers and analytical, both acknowledged that formulating snack seasonings in line with all of these demands can be a challenge.
“Firstly cost is always the key challenge and also the shelf-life of the product,” Cobbe said.
Texture and rising properties are among the functionalities that must be mastered when developing snacks that are clean label and have a shortened ingredients list.
Dicolla said that feedback from consumer sensory panels is core to the successful development of dry seasonings that taste like favorite US dinners.
When it comes to doing all of this with natural colors and flavors, she said it is important to have a strong library of different ingredients to work with. “It’s just a lot of back and forth work to match,” she said.