AI tool predicts regional flavour trends poised to go global

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Dragon fruit was one of the flavour trends predicted to go big in the West. Image: Getty Apomeres
Dragon fruit was one of the flavour trends predicted to go big in the West. Image: Getty Apomeres

Related tags Trends

The next big regional flavour trends set to go global have been predicted by new artificial intelligence- (AI-) powered research by Olam Food Ingredients (OFI).

The research used predictive analytics to scan online recipes, restaurant menus and e-commerce sites for trends before they hit the mainstream.

Asian flavours like dragon fruit, sesame, yuzu, lychee and matcha were found to be taking off in the US and Europe, while South Asian countries such as Indonesia and India were searching for Western flavours like butterscotch, marshmallow, salted caramel and cookies & cream.

Social media spread

Edward Norder, OFI Europe, Middle East and North Africa head, said increasing globalization meant flavour trends were crossing borders faster than ever. The proliferation of social media in our everyday lives meant that a local craze could turn into a worldwide phenomenon overnight.

“This is a big opportunity for food and beverage companies to get ahead, but first they need to be able to pair the right flavours and translate emerging trends into great-tasting products in the development kitchen,” ​Norder explained.

OFI has developed new cocoa pairing to capitalise one these trends, inspired by this ‘East meets West’ trend. Standards included chocolate-coated dragon fruit ice cream and a yuzu-infused chocolate panna cotta for the US, chipotle chili, lime and passionfruit dessert for Germany, and a black forest and cocoa flavoured frappe-style drink for Indonesia.

‘A powerful tool’

“Choosing the right cocoa powder is a powerful tool for helping manufacturers win on taste,”​ Norder added. “So, we hope what we’re sharing today will inspire our customers to look again at cocoa as a pairing for fresh, on-trend flavour combinations and applications that will surprise and delight consumers around the globe.”

Meanwhile, born between 1996 and 2020, Gen Z is a key consumer to lock-down. Here’s how their experiences have influenced the bakery category.

The top flavor trends by geography


  • Dragon Fruit​ – starting to trend in the UK in bakery. The punchy flavour pairs perfectly with deZaan’s N11N cocoa powder in pastries or N21N cocoa powder in ice cream or sorbet.
  • Sesame​ – becoming popular in bakery in France, this flavour pairs excellently with deZaan’s D11S – a deep intense cocoa flavour – in a chocolate banana brioche.
  • Chilli ​– emerging particularly in German confectionery, particular in a chocolate bar. It also works with deZaan’s TrueDark – a rich natural cocoa powder with notes of nuts and fruits – in a chipotle chili, lime and passionfruit dessert.


  • Lychee​ – growing in popularity in the bakery category, it pairs well with deZaan’s D23A cocoa powder – a full chocolatey taste and creamy texture – in a rich pastry filling.
  • Yuzu​ – also booming in the bakery space, this works excellently with deZaan’s N11N – a well-rounded cocoa powder with delicate fruity notes – in a panna cotta.
  • Miso​ – emerging in confectionery, this pairs with deZaan’s Rich Terracotta, with notes of chocolate, nuts and caramel, in chocolate fudge.  


  • Marshmallow​ – on the rise in confectionery in Indonesia. This flavour pairs well with deZaan’s 254DP11 – a premium cocoa powder with an intense cocoa flavour in a nougat or in a S’mores-style breakfast cereal.
  • Black Forest ​– also growing in popularity in Indonesia beverages. This punchy flavour blends perfectly in a frappe-style drink with deZaan’s 350DP11 – with a rich and full-bodied chocolate taste.
  • Cookies and Cream ​– an emerging trend in India in confectionery, this classic sweet flavour combination is the perfect match for deZaan’s H910N, in ice cream, confectionery and frappes.

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