Tastes that offer novelty, over-the-top indulgence and targeted health benefits are set to drive consumer preference in 2022, according to Kerry, the world’s leading taste and nutrition company.
Trends that were accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic have developed and will become more sophisticated this year, with consumers seeking new tastes paired with familiar formats and flavours – leading to interesting 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 uncovers the flavours and ingredients that are set to inspire food and beverage innovators across North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa over the coming year. Kerry leverages a blend of sources to create the charts and provide an in-depth analysis of taste trends. These range from scanning product launch activity, restaurant and café menu penetration, to the commissioning of research reports. In addition, Kerry’s proprietary internal insight engines, such as Trendspotter, peer into social media influencer content and we also gain from the valuable knowledge of our own internal expertise of chefs, baristas and mixologists.
Taste trends for 2022
A desire for authentic flavours is driven by an interest in long-term wellness and overall health following the COVID-19 pandemic, while cravings for more novel flavours such as numerous varieties of chocolate/cocoa, cheese, smoke and named chilli such as ghost pepper and jalepeano are being led by consumers seeking surprise and fun from their food and beverages. Restrictions around movement have also led to consumers travelling the world through their tastebuds, which is highlighted in Kerry’s new cuisine chart and underlined by cuisine-specific entries across 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,” she said.
“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 – brands can appeal to this desire for novelty by pairing emerging and up-and-coming flavours with old classics.”
Sustainability is another important driver and consumers are now seeking ingredients that are responsibly sourced and back by provenance. Recent research by Kerry found that globally 49% of consumers 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, 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,” Nair concluded.
Start your taste story today
In a dynamic and fast-changing environment, innovation has never been so important to meet consumer preferences – and taste is the first place to start.
“Taste is the foundation of innovation and successful new product development. 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,” Nair concluded.