Saturday, March 22, 2008

Flavor Trends for 2008

It is always interesting to see what flavor pairings emerge in the annual McCormick Flavor Forecast. Some of the pairings may be a little more relevant to product development and food service menu development than your mainstream product recipes and cookbook applications, but the pairings definitely highlight some key emerging flavor trends. And it never hurts to keep your eye on the emerging trends that may impact you in the future!

  • Oregano and Heirloom Beans: The familiar flavor of oregano added to the heirloom beans touches on 2 key trends - food with functional benefits and the emerging popularity of heirloom vegetables.

  • Vanilla Bean and Cardamom: Vanilla has long been popular flavor (remember the emergence of all the vanilla flavored drinks a couple of years ago like vodka and sodas?) that people recognize. Cardamon is an emerging trend that many consumers don't even even realize they are eating because it is increasingly in food service menu items but not called out in the menu descriptions.

  • Chile and Cocoa: This combination fits very well with the emerging Hispanic flavor trend. As with other ethnic cuisines, there is an evolving sophistication of the American palate that moves beyond the ubiquitous mainstream "Mexican" food to deliciously rich and diverse regional dishes.

  • Coriander and Coconut Water: A continuation of the tropical flavor trend that we saw last year.

  • Lemon Grass and Lychee: Asian cuisines continue to grow in popularity as consumers move away from mainstream "Chinese food" to regional Asian palates. The pairing of the exotic lychee brings in a freshness to this pairing.

  • Red Curry and Masa: This pairing follows the "fusion" trend by bringing together Latin and Asian influences to create a unique flavor experience.

  • Orange Peel and Natural Wood: Tangy orange peel matched with the smokiness of natural wood creates a delicious flavor combination that could go into multiple genres of foods from Asian to American BBQ.

  • Allspice and Exotic Meats: This combination fits well with the "experience eating" trend where food is more than nourishment for the body, it is an new experience for the senses.

  • Poppy Seed and Rose: A unique new pairing taken from North African and Middle Eastern cuisines, it speaks to Americans' expanding ethnic food palate.

  • Rubbed Sage and Rye Whiskey: Two traditional American flavors team up for an earthy familiar flavor combination.

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