According to the food researchers, overall annual growth in the global flavours market has been around 2 per cent in recent years.
Expansion has been driven by the importance of flavour as a marker of differentiation in saturated developed markets and the growth of the processed food segment in emerging markets.
But market growth has also been constrained, notably by intense pressure from food multinationals to keep prices down and the high cost of innovative flavour development.
In its new report entitled “Food and Beverage Trends in Western Europe”, Leatherhead gives a picture of the changing consumer preferences that are presenting formulators with opportunities for market expansion.
Broadly, speaking European consumers are developing more adventurous taste buds, creating opportunities for more exotic flavours. Exposure to varied global cuisine is driving this trend, and as consumers become more knowledgeable of different food cultures, formulators need to be wary of making their creations authentic.
Health and wellness is also having a major bearing on flavour development, fueling demand for fruit flavours, botanicals and dark chocolate.
For a more detailed exploration of how these broad trends are affecting flavour development in the bakery and snack market, look out for an article in on our sister publications BakeryAndSnacks.com.
Going forward, Leatherhead expects changing drinking habits in the soft drinks market to have a major impact on the direction of the flavour market. Beverage applications account for 40 per cent of global flavour usage, and so any changes in the sector are likely to have a major influence on the direction of the overall flavours market.
Leatherhead said: “Future growth in Western Europe is likely to come from the soft drinks sector due to rising demand for products such as flavoured waters and fruit drinks.”
Health and wellness is an important criterion for flavour development in soft drinks as formulators follow the consumer shift from sodas and artificially flavoured cordials to natural fruity waters and juices.
Meanwhile, increased interest in ethnic cuisine is tipped to have a big influence in the development of savoury flavours.
Leatherhead added: “Some of the other drivers of growth are likely to include dairy products such as yoghurts and milk-based drinks, as well as snack foods, where flavours represent an important point of differentiation within a crowded market place.”