BakeryandSnacks spoke to seasoning suppliers at the show to find out what producers are asking for these days.
According to Sarah Boisert, a food scientist turned sales professional for Griffith Foods, everyone wants flavor, but consumers are not necessarily willing to pay more for natural.
She said Griffith receives plenty of requests for natural flavors or those made without GMOs or artificial elements, but those options can cost up to 33% more than artificial flavors. There will always be a market for cheaper options, especially in the snacking category, where 99-cent potato chips remain a firm favorite.
The Illinois flavor supplier has seen a trend toward spicy flavors, with the Korean sweet-and-spicy fermented flavor of gochujang or togarashi, a Japanese seven-spice dry chili, making headway.
Global flavors get specific
Perhaps paradoxically, the rise of plant-based snacks has renewed interest in longtime favorites such as barbecue, nacho cheese and salt & vinegar.
Lisa Stern, senior VP of sales and market at Life Spice Ingredients, said consumer desire to satiate the two extremes of nostalgia and adventure has propelled the sweet-and-salty craze in particular. The Chicago, Illlinois-based company showcased a cassava popper flavored with pineapple, maple and coconut, as well as a white cheddar and toffee popper.
Ten other companies showed off their innovations at the flavor pavillion, include items like Irish cream or chocolate-maple-pancake popcorn and potato chips rising to the fore with orange chutney, maple-bacon-cheddar, barbecue chicken and chimichurri flavors. One pretzel featured a mustard IPA beer coating, while a peanut-butter stuffed pretzel was dusted with a grape jam powder – a spin on the classic American sandwich.
According to Stern, chefs are getting involved in creating products and flavors, leading to 'out-there' combinations finding their way into snacks. Limited-time offerings have also fueled consumer interest in unusual flavors, textures and ingredients.
Global tastes are becoming increasingly specific, too. For example, rather than a broad taco seasoning, snacks now opt for the more definite red or green mole. Similarly, standard white vinegar has expanded to apple cider, balsamic or red wine vinegar.
Stern told this site that Life Spice had recently developed a fried dill pickle flavor and a miso garlic butter flavors for clients.