Restriction of movement in 2020 led to many consumers expanding their tastes to take their minds off the stress caused by the pandemic. This has led consumers to ‘travel the world’ with their food choices through Korean, Indian, Thai, Greek and Spanish cuisine.
Reflecting on the permanence of these pandemic changes, Christina Matrozou – marketing manager at Kerry Taste & Nutrition – said they were here to stay. But the level of urgency displayed by consumers would begin to settle down, she said.
While this trend of indulgent and experimental eating would continue into 2021, more focus would be placed on sustainable nutrition and the inherent wellness benefits of products, according to Matrozou.
Fermentation emerged as a key flavour trend across several product categories in Europe – in particular, vinegar and pickled flavours. Examples included pickled onions in the snacks category and fermented fish and kimchi in the savoury one.
In the drinks sector, flavours inspired by desserts are beginning to emerge as a top trend, while alcohol notes – such as gin and whiskey – were on the rise in the sweet category. Exotic citrus tastes, such as yuzu and calamansi, were predicted to be a hit in both the sweet and beverage categories.
Mainstream tastes in 2020 – such as citrus, vanilla, chocolate and BBQ flavours – were expected to remain big hits in 2021. Much like the continued trend of indulgence and experimentation, consumers will focus on acquiring these flavours from natural and sustainable sources.
Matrozou said: “The trending approach towards a sustainable future and sustainable nutrition is here to stay as consumers continue to demonstrate an increased interest in the inherent wellness benefits of products incorporating simple and recognizable natural, organic, non-GMO, and free-from ingredients.”
Meanwhile, key industry figures predict where the challenges and opportunities will be found in 2021.