2022 Top Trends Report Overview
From an evolving definition of “healthy lifestyle” to the state of post-pandemic tasting menus to consumers’ desire to experience the thrill of a nice night out again, 2022 trends are all about embracing the spirit of extreme experimentation, diversity, and indulgence. Symrise delved into specific emerging themes, ingredients, and flavors emerging throughout the food and beverage industry in the savory, sweet, and beverage categories in the annual Symrise 2022 North American Top Trends Report.
COVID’s Continued Impact
In 2021 and leading into 2022, COVID-19 has continued to have a massive impact on how consumers cook, eat, and drink. Most notably, at-home and professional chefs have more time on their hands and use it to experiment with flavor as a distraction from the stress and uncertainty of the continuing pandemic. Disrupted supply chains, economic hardship, staff shortages, and inaccessible product have resulted in chefs and consumers changing opinions on what is healthy, where ingredients should come from, the line between high- and low-brow dishes, and the benefit of embrace multicultural flavors.
Another effect of the pandemic has been an increased concern with both naturalness and functionality in food and drink as consumers look to food as medicine that delivers psychological and physical benefits. Excessive sugar and sugary flavors carry less appeal as flavor profiles migrate towards fruit and vegetal flavors, like bitter and citrus. We’re seeing an increase in the removal of “bad for you” ingredients and a focus being put on making “better for you,” like carob and kombucha, taste better.
Natural-conscious, vegetarian, and vegan consumers are no longer content with consuming food and drink that provide health and environmental benefits – they want tasteful and unique flavor profiles, like botanical seltzers and tomato jam, that are also enjoyable to eat and drink. The increase in demand for local, sustainable, and seasonal ingredients has led to a blossoming of new partnership opportunities between chefs and producers to work in tandem to produce new menu items for conscious diners eager to eat out again.
During the pandemic, people have found themselves with more time on their hands to experiment in the kitchen, creating indulgent treats that comforted them and explored cultural heritages as they embraced regional and multicultural ingredients. Chefs especially turned their attention to experimenting with sensory eating, unique flavor profiles like ruby chocolate, and unique texture sources as well as blurred the line between the definition of “low-brow” and “high-brow” dishes and cocktails.
Blurring the lines is a trend in more than one category of food and drink in 2022. With consumers interested in exploring heritage and multicultural flavors, acceptance of and desire for global influences continues to grow. Ingredients from one culture are blended with cooking techniques and flavors of others, leading to increasingly blurred cuisine lines and multi-cultural experimentation, like Afro-Caribbean and New Wave Korean. There is also the tried-and-true trend of finding comfort in nostalgia, from reinvigorating foods from our childhood to vending machine favorites and deli favorites.
For more information on trending flavors with insights from industry experts and an in-depth list of ingredients to seek out in 2022, contact us to receive the complete 2022 North American Top Flavor Trends Report. Let’s discuss how to create the future of food with these trends from 2022 and beyond!