Symrise’s marketing and consumer insights group found that Millennials and restaurant chefs are driving the fermented food and beverage trend beyond mainstays like picked products and beer.
Fermented flavors and ingredients are popping up more and more frequently on store shelves and restaurant menus, says flavor and fragrance ingredients supplier Symrise (Holzminden, Germany). In a recent effort to survey the food market for fermented flavor and ingredient trends, Symrise’s marketing and consumer insights group found that Millennials and restaurant chefs are driving demand for fermented food and beverages beyond mainstays like picked products and beer.
In a series of in-person visits to restaurants and foods trucks, Symrise’s research team analyzed menus to determine which fermented flavors are trending, as well as how frequently fermented ingredients appear on menus. The researchers found a significant increase in the use of fermented ingredients on restaurant menus. According to data from foodservice research and consulting firm Technomic, the word fermented on restaurant menus increased 21% between 2015 and 2016. Food and beverage product launches featuring fermented ingredients, meanwhile, have seen an annual growth of 29%, Symrise says.
Dylan Thompson, marketing and consumer insight specialist, Symrise, explained in a press release that the company’s research allowed it to develop a range of new flavor possibilities based on the resurgence of fermented flavors. “We explored the parameters of the uses of fermentation with experienced and talented chefs,” he said. “Our food treks in various locales and stops at food trucks allowed us to gather a lot of actionable findings. We then examined our collective results at ideation sessions to generate new flavor concepts.”
Those new flavor concepts include fermented food ingredients like kimchi, sriracha, fish sauce, and Mayan chocolate, and beverages like wheat beer, merlot, and mead, Symrise says.
The company says that Millennials, in particular, have embraced this trend, which may help explain the uptick in fermented flavors and ingredients on restaurant menus. One of the most popular fermented products embraced by Millennials is kombucha, or fermented tea. Symrise notes that, per Mintel data, many Millennials were already kombucha drinkers at the time of the survey.
And although consumer interest in buying products featuring fermented flavors and ingredients has grown, Symrise researchers also noted that many restaurant chefs say they have long embraced the tradition of fermentation in their cooking, including the use of cured meats, yogurt, radishes, cucumbers, and even hot peppers.