Symrise Webinar Explores Global Taste Journey

Posted March 7, 2023 by Alyssa Stahr

One of my favorite webinars of the year is the Symrise North America Top Trend hour, and the most recent dive into 2023’s predictions did not disappoint. I was taken on a 45-minute global journey of flavors, tastes and even emotion, and as someone who researches food and beverage products and trends for a living, still there were countless ingredients I’ve never heard of.

Going into the unknown excites me, and I’m sure product and menu developers are going to take what Symrise has found and translate that into some exciting food and beverage offerings this year and beyond.

Themes of the webinar:

1. A shift in trends from 2022. Savory, vegetal, herbaceous and umami tastes have grown, but even more so into vegan and smoky, multilayered meat alternatives. Hyper-regionality is mainstream, especially within Southeast Asian cultures.

2. Healthy lifestyles. Consumers are looking for indulgence with a healthy twist. Low-no alcohol is booming, along with “vegan junk” and a surge in comfort food that are delicious, yet better-for you.

Vegan food is getting a global makeover, Evan Unger, senior marketing and CI specialist at Symrise said. Realistic meat alternatives are becoming more commonplace in the U.S., opening up the door for a vegan iteration of hyper-regional food.

What to watch for: Savory, vegetal and herbaceous botanicals will be leveraged in food products with complex, multilayered flavors as consumer preferences are changing from sweet to bitter. Higher taste/flavor expectations for canned RTDs, mocktails, wine and beer will trend, along with a rise in global lower ABV beverages in fun ways using amaros, vermouth, soju and sake.

3. Natural goodness. Think ethically sourced with no waste, but better taste. Plant-forward is still on consumers’ minds. Hyper-regional, in-house grown, locally sourced, seasonal ingredients will make their mark, along with upcycling.

What to watch for: There will be an emphasis on indigenous grains and shift in garnishes. They will become core ingredients instead of an afterthought. Operators plan to use more pink pineapple, coriander flower, citrus lace, longan fruit and nora pepper (used in the production of paprika).

4. Premium indulgence. Luxury fast food, hedonistic luxuries and the sweet/savory flavor combination will shine in 2023. U.S. palates are ready to accept new flavors, but still find comfort in the familiar like soy, ginger and vinegar. They’re still popular and growing, along with a range of Latin-inspired chiles.

What to watch for: ‘50s- and ‘60s-style desserts are coming back. Think icebox cakes, Jello, trifles and bundt cakes. Hierba luisa, an ingredient similar to lemon verbena, will trend more in beverages this year.

5. Emotional discoveries. A multicultural mashup of comfort food, and covers a range of flavors, tastes and emotions. Autobiographical diaspora cooking features multigenerational kitchens based on family recipes and global flavor remixes in “American” formats. Immigrants cook with love and passion, and U.S.-based menus will more reflect emotion in food.

What to watch for: Fried chicken, pizza, pasta, desserts and barbecue will be influenced by Mexican, Thai, Indian and Vietnamese cuisine.

Symrise’s 2023 North American Top Trends report was compiled from interviews from leading U.S.-based food journalists; Technomic commissioned food service survey; chef and mixology interviews; and secondary Mintel and Trend Hunter insights suppliers.

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