Consumer sense of adventure returns stimulating appetite for new flavors: Kerry

GLOBAL – Consumers’ sense of adventure is coming back, driving up appetite for  “new tastes paired with familiar flavors,” Kerry’s Global Taste Charts for 2022 has revealed. 

This, according to the taste and nutrition specialist, is a diversion from when people craved “familiarity” as they hunkered down to brave the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. 

 Soumya Nair, global research and insights director at Kerry notes that travel restrictions have curbed the enthusiasm of most consumers resulting in a knock-on effect “where consumers are insatiable right now.” 

As consumers enter a new reality where the pandemic is having a prolonged stay, Kerry notes that proactive health and sustainable nutrition priorities and a desire to explore traditional tastes in new formats will be the key taste trends for 2022.  

Tastes that showcase novelty, over-the-top indulgence, and targeted health benefits are set to drive consumer preference in 2022, according to Kerry. 

Trends that were accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic have developed and will become more sophisticated in 2022. 

“Hot honey” is one of those up-and-coming flavors which is being infused in pumpkin spice lattes, for example.  

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“Pumpkin spice latte, that’s not going anywhere. But there is a level of curiosity. Now we see hot honey coming up. You merge the two and it creates magic,” says Nair. 

Using cuisines to travel the world 

With travel restrictions coming back, Kerry notes that consumers will continue using cuisine as a form of traveling around the world and experiencing new and exciting cultures. 

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The hunger for exploring new flavors is a key thread meandering through this year’s charts. “People’s hunger to travel has permeated into cuisine,” says Nair. 

In line with this, South Asian and Asian flavors are performing strongly across Europe and North America and hints of indulgent cardamom, cumin, fennel, tahini, and cream are making an appearance. 

Flavors from Ethiopia, Peru, Lebanese, Turkey and the Philippines are in the mix as well with consumers focused on “hyper-specificity” in the flavor profiles used. 

The COVID-19 pandemic also continues to shape the F&B landscape driving an insatiable interest in their long-term wellness and health.   

Key flavors dominating the health and wellness category at the moment are turmeric and ginseng, particularly in Europe, the US and Canada. 

“People are pivoting to the functional level of health, the level where they are being proactive in improving and looking after their health,” explains Nair. 

Sustainability drives uptake of plant-based foods  

Finally, sustainability will continue to take center stage when it comes to consumer purchasing habits as more and more people make efforts to protect the environment.  

Recent research by Kerry found that globally 49% of consumers are now considering sustainability when buying food and drink. 

“The life-cycle of plant-based has been included. People want the same experience as other consumers when tasting plant based. It is not trade-off consumers are willing to make. They want the flavor just launched,” explains Nair. 

Consumers are also actively seeking out sustainable food and beverage products that have a significantly positive impact on the planet by using products featuring clean label claims and locally sourced ingredients. 

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