Trends accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic will become more sophisticated this year, said the Irish taste and nutrition company.
Consumers are seeking out surprise and fun, which will drive novel flavours from numerous varieties of chocolate/cocoa, cheese, smoke and chillies like ghost pepper and jalepeano.
Stay-at-home restrictions have also led to consumers travelling the world through their tastebuds, highlighted in Kerry’s chart in cuisine-specific entries from Mexico, Thailand and Korea.
Comfort and indulgence are still on the radar, which will be invoked by traditional favourites like chocolate and sweet flavours. Alcohol and dessert-inspired flavours are emerging, but these will typically be relegated to limited time offers and seasonal releases.
Meanwhile, the increased focus on health – specifically, gut health, immune support and emotional wellbeing – is pushing consumers to seek out better-for-you snacks that will actually make them feel like they are taking an active role in their future health. Think botanical, citrus and fermented flavours.
These insights are highlighted in Kerry’s Global Taste Charts for 2022, which uncovers the flavours and ingredients that will help inspire product innovators over the coming year. Kerry leverages its proprietary insight platform Trendspotter to create the charts, along with a blend of other sources, such as commissioning research reports, product launch activity, restaurant and café menu penetration and social media influencer content. It also gains valuable knowledge from its inhouse team of chefs, baristas and mixologists.
The proactive consumer
“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected consumers on a deeply emotional level, changing consumers priorities and perceptions about health and wellness,” said 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 will drive their new product development and renovation successes.
“Emerging flavours and ingredients paint a picture of the proactive consumer, looking for functionally forward food and beverages that aid in their overall health and wellness goals. Additionally, in the current travel-deprived marketplace, travelling through the tastebuds has significantly grown – with Asian and Latin American flavours set to make a bold comeback in emerging foods and drinks. We see consumers seeking an element of surprise from traditional formats, as well as comfort – brand can appeal to this desire for novelty by pairing emerging and up-and-coming flavours with old classics.”
Sustainability is another important driver. In fact, Kerry research found that 49% of consumers around the globe take the snack’s sustainable footprint into consideration, looking for ingredients that are responsibly sourced and backed by provenance.
“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 sourced ingredients,” added Nair.
“In the charts, we see this demand through ingredients demonstrating greater provenance, such as botanicals and spices ethically sourced from their country of origin. We have also started to see some ingredients associated with plant-based foods having a dual role in taste. This is all contributing to the flavour trends we are seeing today, which are pointing towards authentic taste experiences.”
Build your taste story
As we emerge from the pandemic-driven isolation and slumber, the world is expected to revert to an even more dynamic and fast-changing environment, underlining the pace that innovation needs to take on. But every story needs inspiration – which is why the company developed its Taste Charts.
The 2022 edition offers insight into the next wave of flavour profiles, ingredients and trends set to drive innovation.
“Taste is the foundation of innovation and successful new product development,” said Nair.
“Kerry aims to go further, together with our customers, making inspiration actionable and helping to create products that will stand out in the marketplace. If you want to build taste into the story of your brand, we can help you today.”