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?