Multicultural Flavors On The Rise
The pandemic may have limited travel, but it didn’t hinder consumers’ taste buds or quest for multicultural flavors. According to a Technomica study, among 87% of consumers who ever order ethnic fare or food with ethnic flavors:
- 32% would be willing to pay extra for authentic ethnic fare
- 44% prefer completely authentic fare
- 23% say their food preference changes based on the cuisine
- 36% like to explore regional varieties of mainstream ethnic cuisines
During the pandemic, home cooking elevated the demand for seasonings and sauces. Flavorful spices, seasonings, marinades, and sauces from around the world have been traditionally reserved for animal-based protein preparations. However, plant-based food and beverage innovation is evolving at a fever pitch. These preparations are inspiring new plant-based products and adding excitement to all meals.
Asian and Latin foods and flavors are on-trend and continue to engage younger generations. According to Datassential’s FoodBytes – 2022 Trends reportb, millennials, are the first recent generation to prefer Mexican cuisine over Italian, with Chinese cuisine coming in second. Gen Z has followed suit and they love or like Mexican cuisine more than Italian food. Regardless of age, consumers do not need a passport or plane ticket to experience Asian and Mexican-inspired multicultural flavors and cuisines.
As plant-based protein gains momentum and consumers’ demand for more authentic, regional, and multicultural flavors increase, companies have the opportunity to expand their flavor offerings. Cooking with these flavors can transport consumers from their dining room table to local cuisines around the globe. Trilogy Essential Ingredients offers a diverse portfolio of multicultural flavors for animal and plant-based proteins. Request samples here.
Seasonings and Sauces Drive Animal and Plant-Based Protein Preparation
According to Mintelc, proteins are the center of the plate influencers: their flavors drive the side dishes paired around them for nearly half of consumers.
Mintel’s European researchd echoes that of the U.S. and found that consumers are looking for stocks, sauces and seasonings that can help them to elevate meat-free dishes:
As plant-based companies seek to capture flexitarians’ attention in the crowded landscape, there is an opportunity to include more regional authentic flavors in their portfolios. Providing multicultural flavors will help meet consumer demand for more flavor diversity and raise the bar to provide better tasting plant-based protein products.
Multicultural Flavors Spice Up Animal and Plant-Based Protein
Mintel’s datac shows that primary protein flavors that have grown in popularity have evolved to represent a wide variety of emerging cuisines. American, BBQ, Mexican, Italian, Chinese, and Japanese are among the most widely consumed cuisines by consumers of any age. Trilogy Essential Ingredients offers a wide variety of flavors for many types of cuisine including South Asian, East Asian, Mexican, Southern United States, and Mediterranean. Request samples here.
Younger adults, particularly Gen Z and Millennials, seek greater diversity in their cuisine selection. Heat and regional flavors are a common theme for growing flavor profiles. Mintel’s researchc uncovered more than six in 10 millennials have tried or would like to try proteins with any of these growing flavors.
The rising popularity of these flavorful ingredients is supported by Technomic’s recently published 2023 Trend Predictions Fourth Quarter reporte, which shows the significant growth of these menu items:
- Chimichurri marinade (125% predicted two-year operator penetration growth)
- Jerk marinade (+125%)
- Lemongrass marinade (+125%)
- Nashville hot (+155%)
Regional Asian Flavors Emerging
Various regions in Asia are inspiring emerging protein flavors. Consumers’ awareness of coconut, lemongrass, and turmeric is leading the way to the trial and exploration of many of these unique Asian flavor profiles.
Additional research from Mintelf, analyzed common flavor components used in food products with a regional/international flavor profile from 2017-2021. Kimchi and Miso were the top growing flavors during that time; Kimchi grew by 151% while Miso grew by 88%.
Trilogy Essential Ingredients offers a wide array of regional flavors such as Coconut, Harissa (North African), Kimchee, Tamarind, and Turmeric. Request samples here.
Spicy Flavors Heat Up
Consumer interest in spicy sauces remains strong. In the U.S., nearly half (47%) of Gen Zs and three in five (58%) Millennials use spicy sauces while nearly one-third of younger Europeans use spicy sauces, according to Mintelg.
- 46% of German 16-34 year olds are interested to see more spicy flavors in savory foods
- 49% of U.S. millennials have tried and like Sriracha hot sauce vs. 40% of all U.S. consumers
- 44% of Italian consumers aged 16-34 are interested in buying table sauces with flavors inspired by authentic street food
Base: Germany: 2,000 internet users aged 16+; US: 1,820 internet users aged 18+ who have used dips and sauces in the past three months; Italy: 1,588 internet users aged 16+ who have bought condiments or dressings in the last three months
Source: Kantar Profiles/Mintel, March 2021, April 2020, March 2020
Foodie Millennials are often the first to embrace emerging ethnic cuisines such as Argentinian and Korean and to adopt their spicy sauces. In turn, these sauces are likely to be the rising stars later adopted by mainstream adults, according to Mintelg.
Furthermore, according to Technomice, spice-forward international ingredients are heating up and are many of the fastest-growing menu items:
- Urfabiber (Turkish chili pepper) (+200%)
- Gochujang (+131%)
- Chamoy (Mexican condiment) (+163%)
Whether you are formulating for animal-derived protein or plant-based protein, consumers expect an array of multicultural flavors, which run the gamut from savory to smoky to spicy to sweet and any combination in between. Asian and Mexican flavors, spices, and ingredients are two drivers of current ethnic flavor innovation. Let Trilogy excite consumers’ tastebuds with a wide assortment of popular and emerging multicultural flavors without leaving the U.S. Don’t see an Asian or Mexican flavor you are looking for? We have more! Contact us.
*Chimichurri (Argentinian uncooked green herb sauce), Gochujang (Korean red chili paste), Harissa (North African hot chili pepper paste), Kimchi (Korean spicy, fermented cabbage), Peri Peri (African Bird’s Eye Chili), Sambal (Indonesian chili paste or sauce), Shawarma (Middle Eastern street food made with protein marinated in a mixture of spices), Tikka Masala (Indian tomato and cream sauce with a mixture of spices), Tamarind (sweet and sour fruit native to Asia and northern Africa), Turmeric (Indian spice that gives curry its yellow color), Za’atar (Middle Eastern spice mixture), and Zhug (Yemenite green hot sauce).
c MintelTrending Flavors and Ingredients in Protein – US – 2021 report
d Brockman, Chris, “Umami Flavours Can Elevate Plant-Based Meals,” 13 May 2021, Mintel
e Technomic 2023 Trend Predictions Fourth Quarter Report
f Mintel Flavor Trend Analysis 2017-2021 custom research
g Pasco, Martin “What’s Next In Hot And Spicy