AI tool reveals biggest summer flavour trends

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

Turmeric and other umami flavours are growing in popularity according to the report. Credit: Getty / Nungning20
Turmeric and other umami flavours are growing in popularity according to the report. Credit: Getty / Nungning20
A new artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning tool has identified five emerging flavour trends to look out for during the summer of 2024.

The ‘Flavour Forecast’ report was developed by drinks giant Diageo in collaboration with Ai Palette, an AI tool that tracks global conversations about food and drink across online and social media platforms.

In creating the report, Diageo’s combined flavour trends identified by its innovation teams with insights from the digital tool. These insights explain what broader consumer trends are causing the popularity of these flavours such as environmental concerns or curiosity about diverse options.

Following this process, Diageo identified the following five flavour trends: umami, spicy, tropical, treating and bloom harvest.

Umami:​ While umami is often confused as a single ingredient, Ai Palette has seen an increasing number of conversations about a vast array of umami tasting items such as turmeric, gochujang and parmesan espresso martini. Diageo said that this reflects a growing desire to discover novel experiences, traditions and flavours from different cultures.

Spicy:​ Spicy flavours are making a bold statement around the world, with conversations rising about jalapeno, pepperoncini and chilli. These trends come as 15% of global consumers are searching for greater excitement when socialising, with Latin and Tex-Mex overtaking Italian as the go-to food order for people in the US and almost half of UK shoppers now using hot sauces in everyday meals.

Tropical:​ The search for more adventurous and exotic experiences is causing a resurgence in tropical-based food and beverages. Flavours like tamarind, guava and passion fruit are driving this trend, again reflecting consumer’s search for adventure.

Treating: ​New textures and innovative methods are transforming typical ‘treating flavours’ into multi-layered experiences, Diageo said. Fuelled by consumers placing more importance on “little pleasures”,​ conversations about treating flavours such as coffee, hazelnut and nutmeg are trending.

Bloom harvest:​ In the UK there has been a +172% increase in searches for ‘how to forage’. This interest in nature is driven by an increasingly eco-conscious consumer who is discussing locally sourced ingredients, with floral and natural infusions such as elderflower and rhubarb increasingly popular.

Commenting on the results, Diageo chief innovation officer Mark Sandy said: "How we socialise today is influenced by so many factors, such as different cultures, the appreciation for the outdoors, even our desire for adventure. These trends are shaping the drinks and the specific flavours that consumers will want to enjoy this summer, with Diageo’s ‘Flavour Forecast’ indicating that we are going to see the likes of jalapeno, guava, and floral infusions all have their moments, particularly in the world of cocktails.

“Using our insights and artificial intelligence, we’ve been able to track the growth of these trends and introduce new products to stay relevant to changing consumer palates, with wonderful recent examples including Smirnoff Spicy Tamarind and Johnnie Walker Umami.”

In other news, Pilgrim’s Europe plans to close UK site putting 270 jobs at risk.

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