Bold flavours a big hit with British consumers

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Pickles ranked number one for Brits' favourite bold flavour. Image: Getty, Stefan Tomic
Pickles ranked number one for Brits' favourite bold flavour. Image: Getty, Stefan Tomic

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Bold and strong flavours have proven to big hit with British consumers, according to new research by drinks firm Fentimans.

In a survey of 1,000 UK adults aged 16-65, almost half (47.8%) said pickles were top of their list of ‘punchy’ flavours, followed by brown sauce (45.5%) and marzipan (39%).

More than a third (38,5%) said they enjoyed the taste of liquorice, while 36.3% said they were lovers of Marmite. A further 33.05% said they enjoyed sipping on a bottle of dandelion and burdock.

Top 10 list of big, bold flavours loved by Brits

  1. Pickles - 47.8%
  2. Brown Sauce - 45.5%
  3. Marzipan – 39%
  4. Liquorice – 38.4%
  5. Olives – 37.8%
  6. Marmite – 38.3%
  7. Dandelion & Burdock – 33.05%
  8. Blue Cheese – 32.7%
  9. Coriander - 31.9%
  10. Sardines – 25.3%

People over the age of 65 were more likely to enjoy big, bold flavours, with their favourites being brown sauce (60.7%), liquorice (54.4%) and sardines (41.6%). In comparison, those aged 18-24 preferred olives (38.6%) and blue cheese (32.5%).

Umami tastes

Commenting on the research, food scientist and flavour expert Rachel Edwards-Stuart said: “A number of salty foods appear in the list of top 10 bold flavours liked by Brits. In addition, sardines, marmite, and blue cheese all contain compounds that activate the umami taste (the most recent of the five tastes to be identified) which means savoury deliciousness in Japanese.

“It is of little surprise that salty and umami-rich ingredients are so popular because researchers have shown that even from a very young age we are naturally attracted to pure sweetness, saltiness and umami but this preference for sweetness seems to decrease into adulthood.”

While pickles ranked top over all, Northerners were more partial to a bottle of Dandelion and Burdock (60.4%), with Fentiman’s attributed to feelings of nostalgia linked with the drink.

Childhood preference

When it came to childhood preferences, more than a third (36%) said their favourite food to enjoy was fish fingers, followed by baked beans (35.5%) and Angel Delight (34%). Stronger flavours such as Parma Violets (17.3%) and liquorice (21.9%) well less preferable than they are now.

Jayne Andrews from Fentimans added: “Our classic Dandelion and Burdock has always been a favourite, here in the North, but we’re glad to see that the whole nation’s taste buds are seeking out food and drinks with individuality.”

Meanwhile, from flavours of the moment, to the importance of health and functionality, to the impact of an unstable world – Food Manufacture unpicks the major trends and drivers for food and beverage producers in 2024.

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