2014 Flavor Trends for Food and Beverage

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Fernet, guasaca, and green coconut are among the contenders, Sensient Flavors predicts.

Trending food and beverage flavors for 2014 include fernet, guasaca, green coconut, and nine other up-and-comers, according to Sensient Flavors (Hoffman Estates, IL). Predictions came from the company’s formal research, including its “Taste to Trend” program, as well as “grassroots market excursions to track, identify, and predict consumer mega- and micro-trends.”

The 12 flavor trends of 2014, according to the company’s press release, are as follow. Sensient also describes each current “micro-trend” associated with each flavor.

  • Balsamic Fig– A harmonious blend of full-flavored figs and aged dark balsamic vinegar.  Neither too sweet nor too tart, it is a mellow combination that elevates the sensory experience when added to a variety of other flavors and works well in myriad formats. (Key micro-tend: Taste Plus)
  • Burnt Calamansi– A hybrid of a kumquat and mandarin orange, Burnt Calamansi is the next generation of citrus flavors. A unique citrus profile similar to a sour orange or a slightly sweeter lime with caramelized notes, with a fragrance to match. (Key micro-tend: Sophistication)
  • Fernet– An aromatic spirit or bitter containing myrrh, chamomile, cardamom, aloe, and saffron. A digestif popular in Italy, Fernet is flavored with lengthy, and often secret, lists of spices, roots, and herbs.  (Key micro-tend: Regional)
  • Ginger Plum– A juicy, sweet, and tart plum with a touch of spice from ginger that delivers multiple sensory experiences. (Key micro-tend: Taste Plus)
  • Gochujang– Described as “the new Sriracha sauce,” Gochujang is a savory and pungent fermented Korean condiment made from red chili, rice, fermented soybeans, and salt. (Key micro-tend: Bragging Rights)
  • Green Coconut – Green (young) coconut gained its initial recognition in the U.S. from the rise of popularity of coconut water, which stemmed from the claim of its superiority over traditional sports drinks.  
(Key micro-tend: Lifestyle Management)
  • Guasacaca – A Venezuelan avocado sauce, many have likened it to guacamole, but with a refreshing difference in flavor profile due to the addition of bright, fresh parsley notes. (Key micro-tend: Regional)
  • Juniper Berries– Consumers long for the decadence of an expertly mixed cocktail in its proper type of glass. Gin, primarily flavored with Juniper berries, invokes a feeling of that elegant past era. (Key micro-tend: Nostalgic)
  • Rhubarb– With antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, rhubarb helps boost the immune system and fight off disease.  (Key micro-tend: Lifestyle Management)
  • Ras el Hanout– Its name in Arabic means “top of the shop,” or the best spices the merchant had to offer. Typically including cardamom, clove, cinnamon, chili peppers, coriander, cumin, peppercorn, paprika, fenugreek, and turmeric, Ros el Hanout brings the flavors and culture of Morocco to consumers’ doorsteps. (Key micro-tend: Regional)
  • Tayberry – A cross between a blackberry and a red raspberry, tayberries are rich in vitamins and antioxidants and are a welcome addition for the health-conscious consumer. (Key micro-tend: Lifestyle Management)
  • Willamette Hop – Used primarily as a flavoring and stability agent, hops impart a bitter, tangy flavor in beer, and increasingly, in confections and other unexpected food products. (Key micro-tend: Bragging Rights)

Sensient's eight micro-trends fall under three mega-trends: Health & Wellness, Sensory and Personalization.  Description of the micro-trends aligned with the 2014 flavor trends are as follows:

  • Bragging Rights– Falling under the Personalization mega trend, the Bragging Rights micro-trend addresses the thrill to be the first to uncover the newest sensation. 
  • Lifestyle Management– A Health & Wellness micro-trend that speaks to consumers’ quest for tools that help them stay on track to their personal goals and live better on a daily basis.
  • Nostalgia– Another Health & Wellness micro-trend, Nostalgia is about inducing a positive emotional response as consumers anchor their emotions to another time or place where things were simpler & perceived as happier.  Familiar or local food from the past.
  • Regional– a Sensory micro-trend addressing consumer desire to experience other cultures and places in the world through eating cuisine from other regions and experimenting with unique flavors in their own way.
  • Sophistication– A Personalization micro-trend.  Gourmet tastes helps consumers identify with the finer side of things and express their personalities. Varietals is an example of taking the familiar and refining it.  Secret menus, un-marked bar entrances or hidden & VIP loyalty programs make consumers feel like they are “in-the-know” and just one step above the masses.
  • Taste Plus– A Sensory micro-trend addressing a digital world where more of life is virtual and online and consumers place a premium on sensory stimulation that cuts through the clutter and adds value to their daily lives