Consumers are in search of new flavor sensations, they are looking for bold, varied and diverse flavors, causing a demand for what is being called “culinary forward” food innovation that expands beyond traditional flavors and offerings. This “culinary forward” demand is led by millennials, whose interest in flavor is largely based on their exposure to a variety of foods from an early age, but may also reflect the ethnic diversity of millennials. Diversity is a hallmark of millennials with an estimated 36% being members of a minority group.
Expanded exploration of both global cuisines and U.S. ethnic cooking are also fueling the growth of this trend, though you can see the impact in such mundane categories as the bakery department. Sales of breads with chili peppers soared almost 20% in the last year or so. In produce, sales of specialty fruits, including mangos and papayas are up by double digits. In terms of product developments, Campbell Soup has launched an array of new soup flavors, including Coconut Curry, while the company’s skillet sauce line has flavors like Thai Green Curry with Lemongrass & Basil. Kraft is keeping up with the trend with bold flavors like its Fresh Take’s spicy chipotle cheddar seasoning.
The trend to bold, unique and distinct flavors means that traditional food brands and QSRs alike will have to think about retooling their lines and menus to meet this “culinary forward” demand for new flavors.
Source: Food Trends. (May 2013). CMI Online.