Kerry's Global Taste Charts for 2022 predicts the top new flavors for the coming year, as well as profiling mainstream and key tastes.
Taste trends are underpinned by proactive health and sustainable nutrition priorities and a desire to explore traditional tastes in new formats.
According to Kerry, the world's leading taste and nutrition company, tales that offer novelty, over-the-top indulgence and targeted health benefits are set to drive consumer preference in 2022.
Trends that were accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic have developed and will become more sophisticated in 2022, with consumers seeking new tastes paired with familiar formats and flavors – 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 flavors and ingredients set to inspire food and beverage innovators across North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa over the top the coming year. Kerry leverages a blend of sources to create charts and analyze taste trends in-depth. These range from scanning product launch activity, restaurant and café menu penetration, and commissioning research reports. In addition, Kerry's proprietary internal insight engines, such as Trendspotter, peer into social media influencer content. We also gain from the valuable knowledge of our internal expertise of chefs, baristas and mixologists.
Taste trends for 2022
A desire for authentic flavors is driven by an interest in long-term wellness and overall health following the COVID-19 pandemic, while cravings for more novel flavors 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 traveling the world through their tastebuds, which is highlighted in Kerry's new cuisine chart and underlined by cuisine-specific entries across savory charts including Mexican, Thai and Korean.
Indulgence and comfort are also important to consumers and can be invoked with traditional flavors like chocolate and sweet flavours, or from visiting a foodservice chain that was closed during the pandemic. Alcohol and dessert-inspired flavors emerge 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 flavors 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 flavors 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 flavors 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 flavors with old classics."
Sustainability is another important driver and consumers are now seeking ingredients that are responsibly sourced and backed by provenance. Recent research by Kerry found that 49% of consumers are now considering sustainability when buying food and drink globally.
"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 and flavors that pack a big taste punch while maintaining a healthy halo. 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 flavor trends we are seeing today, which are pointing towards authentic taste experiences," Nair said.
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 go further," Nair concluded.