2022 Trend Reports Focus on Unconventional Flavors

Posted January 21, 2022 by Alyssa Stahr

There’s no doubt that global influence has hit U.S.-based supermarket shelves and restaurants like we’ve never seen. Could it be a result of the lack of travel and the lack of cuisine we experience while crisscrossing the globe on epic vacation adventures?

No matter what the reason, Flavor is certainly king, and product and menu developers are combining nostalgic ingredients that we Americans love with a new culinary vibe, new dishes and new words that have never been uttered past my lips. After all, flavors, tastes and ingredients equal an experience — and we’re on quite the palatable ride.

Sensory Appeal

Bakery and Snacks drew upon Puratos’ Taste Tomorrow platform for a closer look at taste and how it’s a top priority for consumers. Appearance may be rapidly gaining due to social media’s impact post-pandemic, but with grocery stores lacking in staples, “consumers were forced to experiment with different ingredients and try new foods. This has piqued their interest, and 60% say they will continue to explore flavors from other parts of the world.”

The Far East Influence

Photo by Les vergers Boiron

Yuzu, moringa, turmeric and mochi are hot on the trend trail for 2022. All were named on Whole Foods’ top 10 food trend list, and the flavor combinations are endless with these items that have historical backgrounds literally a world away. Yuzu is a citrus fruit that hails from Japan, Korea and China. With its tart and sour flavor profile, it’s perfect for vinaigrettes, hard seltzers and other condiments. It’s on just about every hot trend list for this year, so I predict we’ll see it in a huge variety of dishes.

Moringa is an herbal remedy with native roots in India and Africa, and it’s a “nutrient powerhouse” that Whole Foods predicts will pop up in smoothies, sauces, frozen desserts, protein bars and packaged grain blends. Further, SideChef calls moringa a superfood that is “all the rage right now.” Moringa leaves have seven times more vitamin C than oranges and 15 times more potassium than bananas. Super!

Turmeric is on a number of lists as well, used traditionally in Chinese medicine. It’s starting to take shape in cereals, plant-based ice cream sandwiches, stew and much more due to its notes of ginger and peppery spice. Finally, mochi, a Japanese rice-based treat, also is hitting the freezer section in U.S. supermarkets as of late.

Flower Power

Photo by Rishi Tea & Botanicals

Also growing on Whole Foods’ list is hibiscus. We know it from tea, but it’s also blossoming in fruit spreads, yogurt, functional sodas and craft beer due to its sweet and tart flavor. Hibiscus also made SideChef’s list, thanks in part to over 200 varieties of the flower, resulting in endless recipe possibilities. Marigold was named as an ingredient to watch by Emma Schofield, Mintel’s associate director, global food science, due to its source of lutein, which is reportedly a contributor to eye health. Food Navigator reports that over half (55%) of new beverage launches in the last two years featured a floral flavor, so look to the plants we’re used to smelling to turn into taste bud tantalizers. 

Barbecue with a Twist

Photo by Japan Guide

It’s no surprise that Americans love their barbecue. And, we’re even further in luck when it comes to grilling. Flavor house Kerry identified an astounding 39 main global variations, including yakitori, char sui and tandoori in Asia and khorovats in Armenia, proving that barbecue no matter how you cook it may be the most popular way to eat on the planet.

What’s your favorite flavor prediction for 2022? Anything special on your delish list?

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