Changing Palates, New Flavors

Hagebutten Shake1Every 8 seconds, a child is born, while every 11 seconds a person dies in the United States. In 2014, the US population grew by 2.5 million people (including immigration) to reach 320 million. Different kinds of family structures have evolved, the average household size decreased over the years, „Millenials and Generation Z“ (the marketers terms for young folks between the ages of 15 to 35) determine, what’s hip and what’s not, as do “minorities” who today constitute the “majority” in many large urban markets. These demographic changes influence what new flavors and food products will be offered in the next few years and how they are to be sold. Here are the predictions from the Specialty Food Association and the world’s leading flavor provider McCormick & Company:

  1. Changing palates:  Population growth, immigration and changes in family structures are the main reasons why households in the next 110 years buy and consume very different foods than generations before them. By the end of 2014, the population in the US surpassed 320 million, growing by 2.5 million people in just one year. By the year 2050, about 400 million people may live in the United States.
  2. The new normal: Any successful new food that hits the market must be clean (few ingredients) and clear (transparent about ingredients, origin, production). This is especially important in the restaurant industry. A recent survey confirms chefs’ attitudes and inclinations towards local and nutrient-rich foods, as well as “estate-branded” items and some imported food that is truly authentic. Some venerated mass market food brands and fast food restaurants will further decline in market share or sales.
  3. New Asian: Korean and Vietnamese regional cuisine (banh mi, ramen); Japanese 7 Spice (shichimi togarashi = chile, nori, sesame, orange zest)
  4. New Mediterranean, Turkish Shawarma Spice Blend (cumin, coriander, garlic, paprika, turmeric, cloves cayenne, blackpepper, cinnamon)
  5. New emerging “super” crops and fruits include Kaniwa (a South American grain ) baobab powder, fonio (two new African grains) and soursop (a Latin American fruit). Cauliflower in various new formats will resurge in restaurants and gourmet home kitchens;  nutritious natural ingredients, such as seaweed, seabuckthorn, sage, and rosehip (the latter three are especially popular natural health foods in Germany) will be increasingly used in a variety of “health foods”
  6. New flavors for comfort foods:  Some of the American standard comfort foods, such as cupcakesm cookies and casseroles will be Re-imagined with different spices or cooking methods.
  7. Online sales and delivery; social media; Same Day grocery delivery of fresh, local produce and customized deliveries Google Express, Amazon, Instacart and Whole Foods, Customized Delivery USPS, central pick up.
  8. Tea: Away from cheap mass- produced tea to unique loose tea blends, tea infusions, celebrity tea blends, tea and spice blends (tea and turmeric) black tea and grain blends (matcha, kombutcha).
  9. Savory snack bars with bold flavors, such as roasted jalapeno, sweet chile, hiney smoked barbecue, honey or Bavarian Sweet mustard, orange honey and cherry pistacchio, sundried tomato, basil and olive walnut bar.
  10. Meals in Bowls: Breakfast muesli bowls (fruits, nuts, granola, juice blend, milk, Lunch bowl, chicken hummus, baby spinach, chopped cilantro, Dinner Bowl: rice bowl, microwaveable.
  11. Culinary Cannabis. Back to earth! The legalization of Marihuana in various US states and an ever-more relaxed attitude towards “grass” in the US and EU motivated food scientist to take a new look at the health benefits of “Cannabis sativa.” Expect teas, soft drinks and snacks to contain some “weed” without the buzz.
  12. Eggless mayo:  When Hampton Creek came our with “Just Mayo”, the maker of Hellmann’s – the world’s leading real mayonnaise brand – was up in arms and went straight to court. After all, there’s an FDA standard of identity for mayonnaise that Hampton Creek does not follow. Instead of eggs, they use yellow chick pea protein, and thus a perfectly vegan ingredient. Unilever dropped the lawsuit in December 2014, most likely due to popular pressure and negative publicity. But can real Mayo ever be vegan?

2015 Trends: Changing Palates, Transparency, Trade

For foodies and food professionals alike, 2015 should turn out to be an interesting, exciting year. New labeling laws in the EU and US; new flavors for changing demographics; novel foods to save future generations, and the potential for sweeping free trade agreements between the US, Asia  and the European Union. We scanned hundreds of sources and summarized the most important trends and developments that are likely to make headlines in next two years:

EU Label Law_edited-1The Quest for Transparency and “The Right to Know”

Eating food is easy, but the path from seed to stomach has become ever more complex and complicated. As consumers demand ever more quality, safety, flavors and package sizes at ever-lower prices, food producers, retail stores, and restaurants owners (have to) use ever-new processes, food science, and biotech ingredients to fill demand. What fell by the wayside is a solid understanding of what’s in a food product and how it affects health and well-being.

This is about to change:

  1. European and US regulators have enacted new labeling and food safety laws that come in effect in 2015 and 2016, all designed to provide more transparency around ingredients, origins and caloric values.NON GMO Project
  2. The “Right To Know” movement in the US demanding the identification of genetically modified ingredients (GMO) in everyday food is getting stronger, with a mandate in Vermont pending
  3. As morbid obesity has been declared a disease by the American Medical Association and now qualifies as disability in the EU, health insurers will ask consumers to take the time, get informed and make the right nutritional choices for themselves Read On…

New Consumers, New Flavors

Hagebutten Shake1Long term demographic changes influence what new flavors and food products will be sold and consumed in the US and Europe over the next few years. In the US,  a child is born every 8 seconds. Just in 2014, the US population grew by 2.5 million people (including immigration) to reach 320 million. Different kinds of family structures have evolved, the average household size decreased over the years, „Millenials and Generation Z“ (the marketers terms for young folks between the ages of 15 to 35) determine, what’s hip and what’s not, as do “minorities” who today constitute the “majority” in many large urban markets. Here are the predictions of food trends from the Specialty Food Association , the National Restaurant Association, and the world’s leading flavor provider McCormick & Company:   Read On…

Novel Foods to Save Future Generations

GreenhouseIndustrial farms, biotech firms and global mega food corporations provided safe, reliable and low cost foods for 7 billion global consumers over the past decades. With efficient operations and large budgets to research and develop new products, “Big Ag & Big Food” has undoubtedly helped to mitigate hunger and increase nutrition around the globe. However, large-scale industrial agriculture and food production has also been part of the global environmental and health problems, contributing to climate change, soil erosion and over-consumption. Entrepreneurs in various countries, some supported by Silicon Valley high tech investors, have come up with intriguing new ideas to feed a growing global population with environmentally and socially sustainable methods. Whether they will appeal to consumers is yet to be seen. Read On…

New Era for International Trade

Cargo Ship3A nation’s economic prosperity depends on open and free trade with other nations and the international community is trying hard for the past 60 years to lower trade barriers, alas, with mixed success. The latest attempt to establish global free trade, administered by the Word Trade Organization, dubbed the Doha Round, went nowhere. So, the main economic centers are now working on bilateral deals, called the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP = US and various Asian countries), and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP = US and the European Union). Despite ferocious opposition by vocal consumer and special interest groups, it is widely believed, that these trade deals are inevitable and will be signed in the next two years. Read On…

Chocolate tastes best when it’s the last piece

The last piece of chocolate on a plate tastes the best. That is the result of a test by researchers from the University of Michigan who asked 52 students to evaluate the taste of five unmarked chocolate bars they had to pick from a bag. The researcher then told half of this group just before the fifth pick that this was the last one. Law and behold: the majority of this group claimed that the last piece tasted the best of the sample, in fact, was one of the best they ever tasted, no matter the flavor profile of the piece they picked. The control group had none of these claims. The conclusion: the evaluation of a sensory experience (or any other experience for that matter) depends on the expectations of finality. So … our tip for the day: savor the last piece with gusto. You never know what comes next.