Desire for unconventional flavour pairings, such as the combination of sweet profiles in savoury foods (such as blackcurrant and maple syrup), is also set to rise, Kerry found, while consumers are also increasingly interested in both provenance and functional ingredients, seeking out flavours that not only taste good but also have a story to tell.
Here are five key flavour trends to watch out for over the coming year.
1. Tradition Reigns Supreme
Consumers are rediscovering the comfort of age-old cooking practices and heirloom recipes, placing a premium on tradition and provenance, according to Kerry. Expect to see ingredients like nutritional yeast, ginseng, kombucha, ashwagandha, and ancient grains making a big comeback in snack and beverage applications.
2. Mashup Mindset
Younger consumers are leading the charge in seeking out new and exciting mashups of familiar food and drinks, inspired by the influence of social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram.
3. International Inspiration
Unconventional combinations of traditional ingredients and emerging taste profiles from other regions are set to gain traction, such as Korean fried chicken, mojito beers, Japanese katsu, and Greek tzatziki, according to Kerry.
4. Health Meets Indulgence
Despite inflation, consumers are still seeking out permissible indulgences, especially those with a focus on health and wellness, Kerry said. Expect to see a rise in demand for healthier beverages with functional ingredients like ashwagandha, hibiscus, and matcha. However, classic, simple flavours like cheddar cheese and caramel will continue to reign supreme in nostalgic favourites like cookies and salty snacks.
5. Desserts Inspiring New Applications
In Europe, cross-category inspiration is taking centre stage, with dessert and alcohol flavours inspiring non-traditional applications such as ice cream, confectionery, and sports nutrition.
“Flavours have a powerful way to convey a story – particularly when it comes to consumer trends and preferences," commented Soumya Nair, global consumer research and insights director at Kerry.
"This year we will witness the resurgence of time-honoured traditions and heirloom recipes as consumers crave traditional tastes with new and emerging flavours. Comfort still reigns supreme – with peppermints, hazelnuts, chocolates, cheeses, chilies still dominating tastebuds. Whether a nostalgic treat, a comfort dish or a healthy alternative, consumers expect a greater variety of tastes in 2023.”
Nair added that as consumers return to travelling the world in the post-pandemic period, "we expect that interest and desire in authenticity to continue".