Market intelligence agency Mintel has revealed its take on flavor and ingredient trends that are influencing the foodservice and packaged food and drink categories in 2019 and beyond. The five new trends link the relationship between consumer behavior and food and drink to dishes on restaurant menus and products on store shelves, and explain the significant momentum that has led to this moment.
Seeking out ingredients that provide sustenance for healthy eating is top of mind for Americans. However, consumers today are also looking beyond the balanced diet. Flavors that tap into relaxation and support a healthy gut are satisfying consumers that are looking for ingredients that will feed the mind, body, and soul.
Speaking on the trends, Melanie Zanoza Bartelme, global food analyst at Mintel, shares:
“We’re seeing Ayurvedic-inspired ingredients and adaptogens, botanical flavors, and cannabidiol, or CBD, appearing in more packaged foods and drinks. At the same time, foodservice operators are getting creative with these flavors and ingredients in menu items. And it’s all in the name of stress release. With cannabis now legal in several US states, and industrialized hemp production legal nationwide, consumer curiosity in alternative forms of relaxation is piqued.
“As Americans begin to understand the link between fermented foods and health, we’re seeing restaurants and retail brands turn to lesser-known or ‘old-fashioned’ fermented foods, like drinking vinegars, kimchi, and kombucha, as well as newer fermented foods derived from soybeans, including miso. Prebiotics—familiar to some via vitamins and supplements— are lesser explored in current product innovation and menu offerings, but we expect these ingredients to grow in popularity over the coming years.”
Building on Mintel’s 2018 Flavor Trends, international flavors are examined from the Eastern Mediterranean, India, and Japan, exploring the spirited and unconventional avenues that have driven these unique flavors and ingredients to dishes and products in the US.
Amanda Topper, associate director, foodservice research at Mintel, adds:
“More varied Mediterranean ingredients and flavors are expanding consumers’ palates and along with them the possibilities for Middle Eastern food. Americans are widely familiar with staple Middle Eastern foods like hummus, falafel, and zhug; because of this, consumers are becoming more receptive to regional, specialized flavors from specific Eastern Mediterranean locations like Israel, Yemen, Lebanon, and Syria.
“Over the past few years, Indian cuisine has entered the spotlight. Americans are now familiar with menu items like masala, having eaten Indian food at fast-casuals, food trucks, and pop-up restaurants. Our research shows that while Indian fare is starting to mainstream in many parts of the country, there is still significant opportunity for dishes and products that explore the regional specialties of India.
“Traveling east to Japan, we’re observing US restaurants and retailers drawing on the popularity of Japanese foods and ingredients like sushi, ramen, and matcha, especially as they become increasingly popular on social media due to their unique and ‘Instagrammable’ colors, formats, and presentation on the plate. With Japanese street food appearing more and more in the media, and tourism to Japan on the rise, we expect to see an even greater focus on Japanese flavors and ingredients this year.”