Consumers are seeking nostalgic, comfort foods as well exciting new flavors to inspire them, according to Kerry and its 2021 Taste Trends report, which explores taste trends found across the globe .
The ingredient and nutrition company, with U.S. operations out of Beloit, Wis., researched trends across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Latin America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions to map out where trends were appearing across the world and shared unique ingredient-based dishes that fit the trends.
In the report, seven broad trends stood out based on Kerry's research: nostalgia, seasonality, enticing eats, taste exploration, novel flavors, acceptable sweetness, and healthy halo.
For example, a trend of taste exploration in Europe had well-travelled consumers seeking wasabi and sriracha, while in the United States, consumers were exploring flavors such as Irish cream and Korean BBQ. Consumers in Mexico have been craving a bit of nostalgia in their items, reaching for Al Pastor and tamarind, while in the Asia Pacific region flavors such as lychee and green mango have been providing comfort.
The report also found some products such as plant-based ice cream, tempura nuggets and cold brew tea have become popular.
“In the past year, we have seen trends shift and accelerate due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Leigh-Anne Vaughan, global strategic marketing director of taste at Kerry. “A taste for nostalgia has emerged, with consumers gravitating toward comforting and familiar food and beverages such as cotton candy and cookie dough. Seasonal tastes also offer comfort, with consumers expecting limited time offers during seasons or holidays.”
She noted that Kerry leaned on its proprietary tools such as Trendspotter, a local insights platform that they use to translate taste insights into products, to research some of the overall taste trends.
Vaughan said consumers are looking for excitement in food, as well as nostalgia and comfort, and they are drawn toward visually impactful food and beverages. “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 and with healthy halo ingredients.”
Beyond the broader, global trends, the full, 34-page report delves into the trends, sharing insights such as 55% of Canadian menus and 50% of U.S. menus include “smoked” items, showing a rise in BBQ flavors. The report shares unique products, too, that can be created by Kerry Technologies that fit within trends such as Blueberry Lavender Chamomile Hard Seltzer, a beverage that fits the Novel Flavors trend and inspired by research surrounding the flavor of Lavender such as how there’s been a 14% increase in Lavender appearing on U.S. menus and how the soft drinks category has seen a huge surge in producing drinks with the flavor.
The report is available for download here on the Kerry website.