Here at Flavorseal we’re always keeping our taste buds on alert for the latest flavor and spice trends that could be of interest to protein processors.
Besides being one of the most exciting aspects of this industry, it’s also a way for meat and poultry processors to add value for consumers and increase sales. Staying abreast of flavor and spice trends, is after all, one way for processors to differentiate their products on the grocery shelf.
What are the latest flavors and spice trends we’re hearing about, that could find application with proteins? Judging by what we’ve read recently, consumers’ taste preferences continue to evolve as always. Two of the latest flavor trends appear to be a continued focus on authentic, exotic flavors from around the globe, and the adaptation of hot and spicy to hybrid, regionalized and modified heat blends.
Authentic, Global, Exotic.
Recent articles from trade media outlets and press releases issued by spice and flavor suppliers acknowledge the heightened focus on global and exotic spice trends. One of the hottest of these seems to be incorporating authentic flavors from specific regions, such as the Middle East, Northern Africa, and Japan.
For example, McCormick & Company, based in Sparks, Maryland, in its McCormick Flavor Forecast 2017, released in late 2016, identified the Middle Eastern Baharat seasoning as “a new all-purpose seasoning.” The blend of cumin, cardamom, black pepper, cloves and other spices can add warm seasoning notes to meats, chicken and a variety of other foods.
In addition, flavor technology company Comax Flavors, based in Melville, New York, reports that with globalization and the growing multicultural population, spices that were once exotic and unfamiliar are now becoming more mainstream.
“Consumers are now open and willing to experiment with spices to experience new flavors,” said Catherine Armstrong, vice president of corporate communications for Comax Flavors in a press release issued in late 2016.
Chris Koetke of Chicago’s Kendall College School of Culinary Arts backs up the trend in a late 2016 Food Business News article, in which he mentions za’atar, the bold Middle Eastern spice mix, and harissa, a savory Tunisian chile paste, as two authentic flavors finding favor with chefs.
Another exotic spice trend seeing a rise in popularity, some food industry insiders say, is the Japanese umami flavor. Technically not a spice but more of a taste, umami is linked with savory, brothy and meaty flavors.
Toward that end, the Whole Foods Market newsroom reported in a late 2016 post that Japanese-inspired flavors like ponzu, miso, sesame oil and seaweed were on the rise.
The trend was also pegged by Liz Moskow, creative culinary director for Boulder-based Sterling-Rice Group, also quoted in the Dec. 29 Food Business News article. Moskow said interest is keen to add umami flavors via mushrooms, soy sauce, and seaweed. She also told the publication that cravings for fermented umami flavors could begin to rival those for hot and spicy flavors.
Meanwhile, the hot and spicy flavor craze of recent years appears to be evolving. McCormick reported in its late 2016 press release that sweet heat was all the rage, and that one of the trendiest takes is tempering the bite of pepper with naturally sweet ingredients like syrups and exotic fruits.
Another technique was highlighted by food service analyst Diana Kelter, also interviewed by Food Business News. Kelter said the trendiest spicy flavors were those with layered profiles, and she referred to hybrid and regional spice blends combining different proportions of hot and smoky flavors to align to specific regions.
Similarly, Comax Flavors, recently released its Smoke Out collection of smoked flavors to add dimension and texture to a variety of foods, including sauces, marinades, snacks and even beverages and syrups.
Blending the Flavor Trends.
How can protein processors incorporate or allude to cutting edge spice and flavor trends in their own processes and products? A first step may be confirming that the flavor trend resonates within your markets, perhaps through market research or preliminary testing.
Flavorseal can help in the process, by way of flavor development and product application. Thanks to long-standing partnerships with spice companies and suppliers, we may be able to help develop and test original spice blends, as well as match them with cost-saving seasoning transfer technologies.
For details on how innovations like Flavorseal’s seasoning transfer technologies can reduce processing costs and address rising customer demands, request our free guide: