Tastes that offer novelty, over-the-top indulgence and targeted health benefits will drive consumer preference in 2022, according to Kerry, a taste and nutrition company.
Trends that were accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic have developed and will become more sophisticated in 2022. Consumers are seeking novel tastes paired with familiar formats and flavours, leading to combinations such as beer blended with kombucha and sage or chocolate milkshakes with lavender.
The insights are contained in Kerry’s Global Taste Charts for 2022, which highlights the flavours and ingredients the company predicts will inspire food and beverage companies in the coming year. Kerry leverages a blend of sources to create the charts and provide analysis of taste trends. These range from scanning product launch activity, restaurant and café menu penetration, to the commissioning of research reports. In addition, the company’s internal insight engines, such as Trendspotter, tracks social media influencer content and the company gains additional insight from the expertise of its internal chefs, baristas and mixologists.
A desire for authentic flavours is driven by an interest in long-term wellness and overall health following the COVID-19 pandemic, the company suggests, while cravings for more novel flavours such as numerous varieties of chocolate/cocoa, cheese, smoke and named chilli such as ghost pepper and jalapeno are led by consumers seeking surprise and fun. Movement restrictions have led to consumers travelling the world through their tastebuds, which is underlined by cuisine-specific entries across the company’s savoury charts, including Mexican, Thai and Korean.
Indulgence and comfort are also important to consumers and can be invoked with traditional flavours like chocolate and sweet flavours, or from visiting a foodservice chain that was closed during the pandemic. Alcohol and dessert-inspired flavours are emerging across sweet and beverage charts, driven by limited time offers and seasonal releases.
Meanwhile, with an increasing focus on gut health, immune support and emotional wellbeing, consumers are looking for better-for-you food and beverages that make them feel like they are taking an active role in their future health – but also taste great. This is evident through the emergence of botanical, citrus and fermented flavours throughout the charts.
Commenting on taste trends, Soumya Nair, Global Consumer Research and Insights Director at Kerry, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has affected consumers on a deeply emotional level, changing consumers priorities and perceptions about health and wellness. 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.”
Sustainability is another important driver and consumers are now seeking ingredients that are responsibly sourced and backed by provenance. Recent research from the company found 49% of consumers globally are now considering sustainability when buying food and drink.
“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. In the charts, we see this demand through ingredients demonstrating greater provenance, as well as flavours that pack a big taste punch while maintaining a healthy halo,” Nair concluded.