Seasoning giant McCormick just released its latest flavor trends report, and the brand has identified four pandemic-influenced flavor profiles that it projects to be the next big things for this coming year. This’ll be something to keep an eye on when you’re seeing new products pop up in the coming months. I’m never sure how accurate these predictions are, but let’s see what the rest of the year has in store for our tastebuds. Trade publication Food Navigator USA has the analysis.
First, let’s consider one flavor profile that McCormick calls “Plants Pushing Boundaries”—meaning that since plant-based food is in the forefront now, people are thinking of fruits and vegetables more of a main course than a side dish. Meaty produce like trumpet mushrooms might make their way to the forefront. Colorful and vibrant veggies might also make bigger appearances including carrots and purple sweet potatoes.
Then there’s the “Humble Nosh” category, which describes comfort food from across the globe. This category includes flavors like those you can find in chaat masala, chili crisp (I can confirm the chili crisp craze is still going strong from what I’m seeing), and pandan, which tastes a bit like vanilla.
Another category is “Underwater, Under Discovered,” referring to ingredients you find in the ocean, like seaweed (dulse), spirulina (algae), and even salt water itself. Am I convinced we’re really going to be drinking sea water cocktails? No, but the world is a wacky place.
Lastly, there’s what McCormick refers to as “Psychological Eating,” which refers to foods and flavors that are influenced by ancient beliefs like the Ayurvedic practice. The flavors here are heavily reliant on coriander, sea salt, lemon, turmeric, cumin, and ginger, which are ingredients that are considered warming and cooling to the body. I’m not so sure about this one, though I don’t typically find myself in grocery stores like Whole Foods where I’d see more of these products.
But this is straight from the horse’s mouth, so that’s something to take into consideration. How this will shape the products on store shelves I don’t know, but if you’re seeing brand new items with these flavors or ingredients in them, consider yourself informed.