Flavor innovation draws inspiration from consumer research and cultural trends but also global events, said Monste Sanchez-Pena, program leader of flavor innovation at Pringles EMEA.
“With the World Cup in Brazil 2014, we will see more flavors from that cuisine. We will see a lot of innovation around Brazil,” she told BakeryandSnacks.com.
“Manufacturers will look for different options but they will be talking about the familiarity of flavors – a lot of salsas, lemon and lime. These are the type of ingredients people associate with Brazil.”
Ensuring global appeal
While Brazil-inspired flavors will hit global markets, manufacturers will need to adapt them according to consumer preferences, particularly in terms of spice and heat, Sanchez-Pena said.
“With chilies, the degree of hotness will be adapted to certain types of consumers. The degree of hotness that Spanish consumers consume, for example, is much lower than the UK,” she said.
There are also differences in how consumers respond to spices in Europe and the US, she added.
US consumers are more advanced in knowing different spice flavors, she said, predominantly due to a large Hispanic population. In Europe however, consumers know the spices but don’t call them out.
“That’s part of the consumer research – to find out how familiar flavors are with consumers,” she said.
Health twist to continue
Alongside these flavor trends, consumers will continue to look for healthier snack offerings in 2014, Sanchez-Pena said.
The challenge for flavor developers, she said, is to ensure taste quality is maintained on different snack forms, like popped or baked chips.