There are five top trends expected to peak consumer interest next year:
- Ethnic Breakfasts: focussing on bolder flavours.
- Plancha: Flat-Out Grilling: the plancha is a thick, flat slab of cast iron used throughout Spain, France's Basque region and Mexico that imparts a smoky tang.
- Egg Yolks: The Sunny Side of Flavor: Eggs are being elevated with spices and herbs.
- Modern Med: Eastern Mediterranean flavors are coming to the fore.
- Sweet on Pepper: The new sweet heat.
Middle East comes centerstage
McCormick’s flavor profile is very much centred on bold Middle Eastern tastes.
Such as those used to make a popular condiment called skhug, including Thai chilies, cumin, cardamom, coriander, garlic, parsley, cilantro, olive oil and lemon juice.
Another example is baharat seasoning, a fragrant blend typically containing black pepper, cumin, cardamom, cloves, coriander, nutmeg and paprika.
Other flavors forecast to come to the fore are those found in mojo verde, a vibrant Spanish green sauce with cumin, cilantro, parsley and green chilies; adobo negro, a complex Mexican sauce combining the spicy adobo with stout beer, black sesame and chili pepper.
Ingredients projected to make a splash next year include sherry wine for an added zing; the emergence of the espelette pepper that originates from the Basque region of France, which imparts a smoky, sweet and mildly hot tang; and barberries, a tart dried red berry used in Persian recipes.
Peppercorns, too, are back in action and McCormick sees their cedar and citrus notes pairing with up-and-coming naturally sweet ingredients like dates and dragonfruit.
Aligned with the consumer’s demand for more natural food items, other natural sweeteners that are predicted to increase in popularity are brown rice syrup, sorghum syrup, barley malt syrup, yacon syrup, coconut nectar and piloncillo.
Back to the future
New “old” kid on the block is sorghum, a gluten-free ancient grain. Its making its way into granolas, and, as its pops just like popcorn, is also predicted to become a popular snack on its own.
Congee, the traditional Asian rice porridge, is also given a facelift. Flavor researchers see it being served in both sweet and savory versions.
Sweetened renditions will incorporate warm spices, like cinnamon, ginger, allspice and cloves; while savory offerings are picked up with salty tones like pancetta and umami-imparting ingredients, such as Gruyere cheese.
Finally, the humble egg, and in particular the yolk, is anticipated to become the hottest protein provider for 2017.
Again, the Middle Eastern touch is being applied, and McCormick suggested these will be given a lift with the spices widely used in the region, like smoked paprika, cumin, pepper, cayenne, turmeric and caraway seeds.