Natural-conscious, vegetarian, and vegan consumers are no longer content with consuming food and drink that just provide health and environmental benefits – they want tasteful and unique flavor profiles with a side of sustainability. COVID’s impact on supply chains has led to increased localization and more seasonal awareness favoring the use of locally grown and foraged ingredients and creating new relationships between chefs and producers. Here we’ll explore some of the up-and-coming trends, ingredients, and flavors to look out for this year within the Natural Goodness pillar as reported by Symrise in our annual Symrise 2022 North American Top Trends Report.
The reasons why consumers choose to adopt a vegan lifestyle have extended beyond the simple desire to be healthy and instead switch for the taste and unique options available to them. It’s become more nuanced and acceptable as plant-based alternatives have become more accessible with improved flavor profiles. This takes plant-based products from the previous idea of “what’s missing?” to putting tastier alternative ingredients, like jackfruit and tahini, at the forefront, leaving nothing left to be desired or make the consumer feel like they’re missing out. Mushrooms with their many varieties providing different texture and size and eggplant are quickly becoming the meat replacement of choice while vegan ice cream incorporating oat and coconut milk add depth of taste and creaminess that matches or even exceeds dairy milks.
A lasting by-product of the pandemic has been the desire for experimentation in the kitchen, with natural ingredient pairing being no exception. Chefs are mixing it up with creating out-of-the-box flavors and textures that make a healthier impact, like tomato jam or avocado cream to be used in desserts. In alcoholic drinks, especially, innovative brands are adopting more botanical and fruit combinations to elevate flavor profiles and appeal to customers looking for a sophisticated cocktail experience.
The pandemic put an even brighter spotlight on sustainability and what it means to be “eco-friendly.” Chefs are constantly looking for ways to reduce food waste in the kitchen by stretching their ingredients with creative menu items incorporating as much of an ingredient as possible and experimenting with waste reducing alternatives, like breadfruit and jackfruit to dishes or corn milk and aquafaba to beverages, to replace less eco-friendly ingredients while adopting sustainable practices behind the scenes.
Going hand-in-hand with sustainability is the trend of locality. Consumers are making the conscious choice to keep it close to home and have a chance to support local producers, especially post-pandemic with many farmers, restaurants, and businesses struggling to get back on their feet. Foraging has gone beyond a survival skill to a trending activity, especially with Gen Z consumers on TikTok, thanks to its accessibility and element of surprise with the thrill of a hunt. Chefs are able to explore affordable new herb and floral flavor combinations and infusions while adding an extra dose of authenticity and connection in the eyes of the consumers.
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 HERE 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!