flavors

Middle Eastern and Japanese flavors spice up the foodservice industry

By Rieva Lesonsky

If you’re in the foodservice industry, you should be aware of the latest flavor trends. Mintel, a global leader in providing market intelligence, recently announced the newest flavors that will affect your market. You can download a free copy of Mintel’s U.S. Flavor Trends 2018 and find out the key ingredients resonating with consumers right now, the ingredients that are inspiring retail launches, changes in menu offerings, which cuisines are on the rise, the top international flavors, and the one trend set to shake up the future of foodservice.

Mintel says Middle Eastern flavors are already “creating a buzz” in the U.S. These “fusion flavors” are inspiring the creation of  “less sweet desserts,” which are becoming more popular, and include ingredients like olive oil and vinegar.

One of the changes Mintel expects to emerge is that new spice blends, sauces and condiments will introduce consumers to new international cuisines they’re not necessarily familiar with yet.

Amanda Topper, Mintel’s Associate Director of Foodservice Research, says, “Flavor is an ever-evolving art, ripe with opportunities for interpretation, innovation and creativity.” As a result, Mintel says, it expects “chefs and scientists to push the limits of creativity to provide a sense of balance and harmony in foods through ‘kokumi,’ which adds complexity and depth to dishes.”

Kokumi, explains Nikken Foods, is Japanese for “rich taste,” and is best known for the hearty finish it provides to a flavor. Because kokumi heightens the sensation of other flavors, chefs can reduce the amount of sodium, sugar, oil, fat or MSG they use “without sacrificing taste”—an ideal solution to consumer demands for healthy, but flavorful, foods.