Both organic and natural food continue to boom, with an increased focus in 2020 on earthy, natural products in all their forms. That means that instead of just turning to items like fresh, organic produce, consumers also want to dive deeper into fermentation, fungi and other natural areas that tie closely into the trends inspired by healthy living.

PART 1: Symrise’s North American Top 10 Flavor Trends for 2020 and Beyond
Driven largely by the increased purchasing power among Millennials and Gen Z who tend to put nutrition top of mind as well as a focus on immunity after COVID-19, consumers value nature not only as the ultimate source of goodness worth protecting but also as a cornucopia of rarely used ingredients and flavors waiting to be explored and used creatively. As consumers continue to cope with the impact of coronavirus, there has been increased interest in understanding of where their food and drinks are coming from. As the world begins to recover, the origin and traceability of ingredients, food and beverage products will be even more important in the eyes of consumers.

As noted in Symrise’s annual food and beverage trends report, 2020+ Top Trends for North America, even though consumers see natural food as healthier, higher quality, better tasting and more sustainable than artificial ingredients, that does not mean that consumers shun sweets, alcohol or other indulgences.

Rather, consumers want more natural items incorporated into all types of food and beverages, particularly at a time during the COVID-19 pandemic when people want to consume what makes them feel grounded and wholesome, both physically and mentally.

With that in mind, keep an eye out for the following flavor trends, which will likely become more prominent in 2020 and beyond:

Fruit Gets Funky
What’s old is new again, as the ancient practice of fermentation emerges in a new direction in 2020. In years past, fermented savory foods like kimchi and gochujang became popular, but we’re seeing fermentation will take a sweeter and perhaps a more approachable turn toward fruit.

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In doing so, chefs and mixologists can add some flavorful funk, acidity and brightness to their creations, while consumers gain the potential gut health benefits from fermentation.

In particular, we’re seeing more use of pickled berries, inspired by Scandinavian cuisine and The Noma Guide to Fermentation. We’re also seeing a turn toward tropical fermentation, such as how Mixologist Chris Amirault of Otium in Los Angeles makes a piña colada using fermented pineapple.

North American chefs and mixologists are also increasingly incorporating ume boshi, a salty-sour Japanese fermented plum. For example, Erin Kanagy-Loux, Executive Pastry Chef for Union Square Events, notes that she’s finding creative ways to use ume boshi in desserts.

Lastly, look for an increased prevalence of fermented cacao pulp, which has the added natural goodness benefit of using what would otherwise be a wasted byproduct of chocolate production.

Nature Added
The trend toward plant-powered goodness marches on in 2020, with consumers looking for even more ways to incorporate the earth’s bounty into food and beverages. Aside from commonly used fruits and vegetables, look for more experimental uses of earthy ingredients such as different types of barks, botanicals and exotic teas.

In using these natural ingredients, more chefs and mixologists will create infusions and incorporate fermented flavors to give a lift to familiar items like honey and coffee.

Oats and other sources of beta-glucans (a soluble fiber) will also become increasingly prevalent in 2020 as consumers take more of a “food as medicine” approach, using natural ingredients in an attempt to enhance both flavor and health.

As consumers look to incorporate healthy living throughout their lifestyles, natural foods will take on a more significant role in 2020 and beyond. Chefs, mixologists and other food and beverage stakeholders can find ways to attract consumers through these emerging flavor trends that involve earthy, natural goodness, which can be incorporated into dishes and drinks in flavorful, sustainable and healthy ways.

Want to learn more about the other Symrise North American flavor trends? Reach out to a member of our team!

Continue reading the 2020 Trends Series: 8 Flavor Trends of 2020 That Inspire Emotional Discoveries

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