Beloit, WI—Tastes that offer novelty, indulgence, and health benefits will drive consumer purchase in the U.S. in 2022, according to Kerry. This will lead to interesting flavor combinations—Kerry predicts beer blended with kombucha and sage, and chocolate milkshakes with lavender and chilies.
The insights come from Kerry’s Global Taste Charts for 2022, which display the flavors and ingredients that are set to trend across North America, Europe, Latin America, the Asia-Pacific Region, the Middle East, and Africa. The charts are created from several sources, including global product launches, sales data across multiple categories, consumer research surveys, restaurant and foodservice menus, and social media posts. The charts can be downloaded here.
Focusing on the U.S., Kerry noted several trends.
- First on the list: authentic, novel flavors, such as Nashville Hot, “everything bagel” seasoning, and chili crisp. Furikake and Sambal are trending in meals and entrees—Furikake has grown by 103% on restaurant menus compared to four years ago.
- Indulgence and comfort, too, are growing. Chocolate is a perpetual favorite; in this category, it’s joined by tahini, alcohol, saffron, and other cocktail-inspired flavors.
- Gut health, immune support, and emotional well-being are taking up plate space, as well. Turmeric has seen a 129% increase in use on restaurant menus versus four years ago.
- Plus: sustainability is taking a spot on the trends list. Recent Kerry research has found that 49% of global consumers now consider sustainability when purchasing food and beverage products.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected consumers on a deeply emotional level, changing consumers’ priorities and perceptions about health and wellness,” commented Soumya Nair, Global Consumer Research and Insights Director at Kerry. “This has certainly impacted their overall food and beverage preferences, challenging innovators to create new tastes that surprise and delight consumers and drive new product development and innovation successes. Emerging flavors and ingredients paint a picture of the proactive consumer, looking for functionally-forward food and beverages that help them achieve their overall health and wellness goals. Additionally, in the current travel-deprived marketplace, people want to travel through their tastebuds—with authentic original Asian and Indian flavors set to make a bold comeback in emerging foods and drinks. While consumers turn to familiar favorites, this year we will see an increased hunger for new experiences and thrilling new flavors. We will see consumers seeking an element of surprise from traditional formats, as well as comfort. Brands can appeal to this desire for novelty by pairing emerging and up-and-coming flavors with old classics.”
Considering the sustainability aspect, Nair added: “Consumers are also actively seeking out sustainable food and beverage products that have a significantly positive impact on the planet as well as on their personal health and wellbeing, looking for products with consumer-friendly ingredients, clean label claims and locally and ethically sourced ingredients. In the charts, we see this demand through ingredients such as botanicals and spices ethically sourced from their country of origin (such as cloves, cardamom, tamarind, black pepper, lavender, etc.). We summarize this psychological behavior shift as ‘Provenance with a conscience.’ This all contributes to the flavor trends we see today and will see tomorrow, which point towards purposeful and authentic taste experiences.”