It may seem a tad quirky to think that we would all love discovering new flavours for cuisine but so it would seem to be true for many of us. I thought this was stating the obvious but a report from Innova Market Insights says that we love the interesting and the novel in flavour. Apparently, at least 75 per cent of us are saying we ‘love to discover new flavours’.
When we make a choice about a new food or a new beverage it is not usually the health aspect but the flavour which dictates what we like as a consumer. When Innova did their top 10 Trends for 2020 they could see that flavour was skewing the desire for new products. Drilling down further to look at flavour descriptors suggested that provenance also played a part in choice but it was always coming back to flavour. The number one trend on that basis was a ‘Storytelling: winning With Words’ theme. At number 2 was ‘hello Hybrids’ which reflected on diversity in the produce used in cooking, and in botanicals which were considered new flavourings. It seems that flavours too are crossing over into different categories which shows how our traditional values about food flavour are slowly changing and hopefully for the better when it comes to variety.
If you look at the age groups, Generation Z are more interested in traditional flavours whilst Millennials are the most out there when it comes to trying new flavours. the Baby Boomers are interestingly the most traditional whereas you might have expected Generation Z to be the most adventurous. having said that 45% of Generation Zs agree that ‘the crazier the flavor, the better.’ This is a much higher percentage than found amongst the over 45s and 55s.
The report should help product developers and chefs looking at flavour innovation for different age groups. There is a considerable motivation to try authentic and valued international flavours. That means seeking out new plants and animals perhaps. Whilst the health and wellness category is important to all there is a clear indication that flavours will need to be strong enough to convince consumers that food is worth eating irrespective of the health benefits.
Sustainability with respect to sourcing new flavours from plants is important to many and there is an issue for many people that too many plants are disappearing. Let’s hope there are no sacrifices in species when it comes to seeking and exploiting the new flavours from around the world. If we are to keep discovering new flavours we clearly need to ensure we don’t lose those plants and animals which might provide them.