2020 is the year of the adventurous eater. A new survey reveals 74% of people love to discover new flavors. The Innova Trends Survey highlights botanicals, spices and herbs as popular flavors that will drive the food and beverage market in the new year. Innova calls these trending ingredients as “functionally flavorful.”
Fermented food brands are active in this regard. Kombucha brands are adding more botanical flavoring to their beverages, and fermented vegetable products are experimenting with unique spice and herb combinations. Flavor is still the No. 1 factor for consumers when buying food and beverages. Fermented food brands can use the trending ingredients of 2020 to develop new products and experiment with new flavor combinations.
“Ingredients have become the stars of many products,” says Lu Ann Williams, Innova Market Insights Director of Insights & Innovation. The industry, she notes, is experimenting with more unusual ingredients to the delight of customers.
Fermented food brands can use 2020’s most popular ingredients as they develop new products. One in two consumers associate floral flavors with freshness, and they associate herbal flavors with healthiness. Flavor is still “the No. 1 factor of importance when buying food and beverages.”
Below is a breakdown of the ingredients consumers want in the New Year.
Today’s consumers don’t just want to have food, they want to experience their food. Innova refers to this as living vs. having.
“Consumers are really living and focusing more on experiences, and a big part of that is food and where it comes from,” Williams adds. “Consumers are also looking for richer experiences. You can have Mexican food or you can have authentic Mexican food. And you definitely have a richer experience with authentic Mexican food with a beer paired with the product, with ingredients that came from Mexico.”
Evidence that globalization is changing food, six in 10 U.S. and U.K. consumers say they “love to discover flavors of other cultures.” There was a 65% growth in food and beverages with ethnic flavors. Products with the biggest growth rate have Mediterranean and Far Eastern flavors. Meat, fish, eggs, sauces and seasonings lead the ethnic flavor categories.
The growing sect of health-conscious consumers want green, earthy flavors. Matcha, seaweed ashwagandha, turmeric and mushroom are all trending ingredients.
Fermented food brands shouldn’t hesitate to use bitter ingredients. Consumers more and more are embracing green vegetables with bitter flavors. Spinach, kale, celery and Brussels sprouts are ingredients used in product launches.
“Bitter-toned beverages are also on trend, with gins particularly popular over the past few years, and now seeing further differentiation via a growing variation in flavors, colors and formats,” according to Innova.
Thanks to the plant-based, natural, organic, healthy eating revolution, consumers are buying food and drink products with botanical, floral flavors. These are becoming more common in beverages, especially kombucha.
Bell Flavors and Fragrances EMEA launched a concept “Feel Nature’s Variety,” capitalizing on the trend. Chamomile and lavender are two of the most popular floral flavors.
“Although many emerging botanicals need more scientific investigation to support anecdotal evidence, many consumers trust ancient, traditional herbals,” according to an article in Prepared Foods.
Consumer interest in spicy ingredients has increased 10 years in a row, according to global flavoring company Kalsec. More than 22,000 new hot and spicy products were launched in 207, while 18,000 hot and spicy products were launched in 2016.
“I think the trend has gone from shaking a bit of hot sauce on something to give it some heat to present day where consumers have a better understanding of how chili peppers can add depth and layering of both heat and flavor,” says Hadley Katzenbach, culinary development chef at food company Southeastern Mills.
Spicy ingredients gochujang (a red chili paste) and sriracha (a hot sauce) has grown about 50% in condiments and sauces, with mole, harissa and sambal following. Spicy peppers, including peri peri, serrano, guajillo, anaheim, pasilla and arbol, are also growing.