The consumer passion for snacks has always offered producers a highly creative platform, and Kerry says it is seeing some interesting flavour trends emerging. According to the ingredients specialist, the snackification trend means that consumers often try intriguing new flavours in small snacks.
“Many flavours get their first start in sweet or savoury snacks and then can spread out rapidly from there,” said Leigh-Anne Vaughan, global strategic marketing director of Taste.
“It’s important to keep an eye on trends in sweet and savoury snack flavour innovations as that consumers might develop early support for new flavours in this category.
Kerry’s latestGlobal Taste Trends maps out the key tastes in the US, Canada, Mexico, Latin America, Europe and EMEA regions, highlighting how they vary but also how they travel across these areas. For example, well-travelled Europeans are found to seek out the Asian favourites wasabi and sriracha, while those in the US are exploring flavours such as Irish cream and Korean BBQ.
The pandemic’s influence
The pandemic has particularly swayed and shifted consumer demand towards health and nostalgia.
“In the past year, we have seen trends shift and accelerate due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Vaughan.
“We are noticing an increased focus on flavours with a healthy halo association … such as ginger and mint trending in Brazil, and kombucha and hemp in Europe. In the US, consumers are seeking ginseng and reishi and maca, while in APMEA goji berry and basil have a healthy halo perception.
“At the same time, in an attempt to cope with the stress of the pandemic, consumers have been and are continuing to seek ways to comfort and indulge themselves while they cope. Comforting nostalgic tastes also look different across the world – from peanut butter in Canada to Chicha Morada in Central America and lychee in the APMEA.”
Kerry identified another five trends forecast to top the bill going forward – namely, seasonality, enticing eats, taste exploration, novel flavours and acceptable sweetness – each a completely separate concept yet intertwined.
“Seasonal tastes also offer comfort, with consumers expecting limited time offers during seasons or holidays,” said Vaughan.
“Consumers are also looking for excitement, and are drawn toward enticing and visually impactful food and beverages to disrupt the monotony of day-to-day life. They are exploring the world through their taste buds in order to seek adventure, with authentic yet accessible cuisine choices on the rise. Meanwhile, health-conscious consumers are also demanding products with less sugar.”
Monitor the market
Research shows an expanded consumer appetite to explore the world.
“Flavours from different cuisines around the world are becoming popular. Masala and miso are of strong interest in the savoury category, while in Europe especially Texas BBQ is popular for snacks. Exotic citrus tastes, such as yuzu and calamansi, have an excellent chance to create an absolute hit in the sweet and beverage categories,” added Vaughan.
She noted there has been particular interested in fermented notes across categories.
“Some interesting examples from the Kerry Taste Charts include pickled onions in the snack’s category and fermented fish and kimchi in the savoury one. Savoury and spice or savoury and sweet are two interesting combinations in product development.
“One knock-on effect of the pandemic is that once it ends, consumers may be very thankful for the chance to travel and taste the foreign flavours that they sampled during the pandemic,” said Vaughan.
“Product developers need to monitor the home market very carefully as change may occur very rapidly due to the influx of new foreign flavours and menu innovations once travel resumes.”
She added the Global Taste Trends can be leveraged by producers to create innovate concepts that will keep up with changing consumer preferences.
“It makes it easier for product developers to make faster and better decisions in selecting the right flavours during the brainstorm and development phase,” said Vaughan.
She added that through proprietary tools such as Trendspotter, Kerry can partner with customers to translate insights into new products that are successful at launch.
“We are committed to guiding our customers on their journey to develop the next generation of tastes that will delight, surprise and excite consumers.”