Kerry Taste and Nutrition analysts studied product launches, industry reports, and social media attention, together with internal insight, to release its European taste chart for 2019.
“We want to spark conversation around creation and innovation,” the company’s senior marketing executive Erika Minaguchi told FoodNavigator.
“We understand that not all the tastes [listed as] ‘emerging’ and ‘up and coming’ are going to make that leap into the ‘mainstream’ and ‘key’ flavour buckets [this year].
“However, we have tried to identify and track the ones that will and monitor them, to be prepared to act on them when they do manifest themselves within the market,” she said.
Savoury in sweet: a growing trend
Incorporating savoury flavourings into sweet finished products is not new to the industry, and Kerry expects to see more of this in 2019.
“Savoury flavours within sweet, that is continuously growing trend,” said Minaguchi, who highlighted ‘up and coming’ ingredients in this sector to include Himalayan salt, matcha, pink peppercorn, sage, and red wine. Seaweed and smoked flavours were also identified as emerging tastes in this market.
While mainstream sweet flavours remain stable, with old favourites chocolate, orange and caramel listed among those most used, Minaguchi said there is still a lot of opportunity for innovation. “Vanilla, for example, is still huge within this category. There is still space to create within that.”
One of the up and coming players, according to Kerry, is chilli. Consumers may be familiar with seeing chilli on front-of-pack labelling, but industry is now looking to more specific and regional versions of the spicy fruit, explained Minaguchi.
Up and coming chilli flavours include aji, amarillo, ancho, cubanelle, ghost, habanero, hatch, and pep per varieties.
The same regional importance can be attributed to cheeses: the ingredients supplier predicts wensleydale, provola and straccino to be explored in snack and savoury product development.
“’Alcohol’ and ‘ethnic’ were two key areas within the savoury charts this year,” Minaguchi told this publication, with emerging alcohol taste trends are cited as Armagnac, cognac, Riesling and sherry.
Up and coming African flavours include gesho and moringa. Fermented and pickled ingredients bulgogi and kimchi are gaining traction. While three varieties of seaweed - konbu, nori, wakame - are also expected to rise in popularity.
“[Other ethnic tastes] manifest themselves in Caribbean and pineapple flavours,” Minaguchi continued.
In the dairy and hot beverage sector, Kerry has observed increased introduction of herbs and spices. Imagery is important here, explained Minaguchi: “Tumeric, star anise, botanicals…those kinds of tastes in hot beverages.”
In water and cold beverages, however, there is growing inspiration from eastern cultures, we were told.“We are seeing different kinds of citrus, such as calamansi and yuzu.”