Kerry highlights top flavours for innovation in 2022 APAC Taste Charts

Tastes that offer novelty, over-the-top indulgence and targeted health benefits are set to drive consumer preference in 2022, according to Kerry, the world’s leading taste and nutrition company.

Trends that were accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic have developed and will become more sophisticated in 2022, with consumers seeking new tastes paired with familiar formats and flavours – leading to interesting combinations such as beer blended with kombucha and sage or chocolate milkshakes with lavender.

The insights are contained in Kerry’s Global Taste Charts for 2022, which uncovers the flavours and ingredients that are set to inspire food and beverage innovators across North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa over the coming year. Kerry leverages a blend of sources to create the charts and provide an in-depth analysis of taste trends, from scanning product launch activity, restaurant and café menu penetration, research reports, in addition to Kerry’s proprietary internal insights engines such as Trendspotter that peers into social media influencer content.

Taste trends for 2022

A desire for authentic flavours is driven by an interest in long-term wellness and overall health following the COVID-19 pandemic, while cravings for more novel flavours are led by consumers seeking surprise and fun from their food and beverages. In APAC, speculoos — among APAC’s top 20 fastest growing sweet flavours within the last year and usually seen in bakery — is now emerging across categories in spreads, ice cream and beverages, while unique lemon myrtle citrus is up and coming in beverages (dairy and hot). Restrictions around movement have also led to consumers travelling the world through their tastebuds, with provenance-based flavours like Sicilian lemon emerging in beverages (water and cold) and Japanese hojicha tea in up and coming under sweet.

Indulgence and comfort are also important to consumers and can be invoked with traditional flavours like chocolate and sweet flavours, or from visiting a foodservice chain that was closed during the pandemic. BBQ is a leading taste in APAC as consumers seek nostalgic yet experiential flavours, with Korean bulgogi popular in both salty and savoury snacks. Lechon, satay, yakitori and beechwood smoke are also dominant flavours in savoury snacks in the region. An exciting new concept is smoke in beverages, mostly seen in upscale cafes and bars.

Meanwhile, with an increasing focus on gut health, immune support and emotional wellbeing, consumers are looking for better–for–you food and beverages that make them feel like they are taking an active role in their future health — also taste great. Local examples of emerging functional ingredients include turmeric leaf and moringa, known for their antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory properties. Oats continue to be a top functional ingredient and almond milk is an emerging alternative ingredient.

Harsch Koshti, marketing director for taste at Kerry APMEA, said of the findings: “Every year over 60,000 food and beverage products are launched in Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. The food and beverage space in the region is going through a dynamic phase where we are seeing consumers looking for products which are not only ‘good for me’ but also ‘good for the planet’. Our Taste Charts are a culmination of deep insights from new market product launches, menu scans and our proprietary consumer-driven AI insights, all corroborated by Kerry experts to forecast the flavours and ingredients that were relevant yesterday, are relevant today and the likely trending flavours of tomorrow.”

Commenting on taste trends, Soumya Nair, global consumer research and insights director at Kerry, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has affected consumers on a deeply emotional level, changing consumers priorities and perceptions about health and wellness. This has certainly impacted their overall food and beverage preferences, challenging innovators to create new tastes that will drive their new product development and renovation successes. Emerging flavours and ingredients paint a picture of the proactive consumer, looking for functionally forward food and beverages that aid in their overall health and wellness goals. Additionally, in the current travel-deprived marketplace, traveling through the tastebuds has significantly grown – with Asian and Latin American flavours set to make a bold comeback in emerging foods and drinks. We see consumers seeking an element of surprise from traditional formats, as well as comfort — brands can appeal to this desire for novelty by pairing emerging and up–and–coming flavours with old classics.”

Sustainable nutrition

Sustainability is another important driver and consumers now seeking ingredients that are responsibly sourced and back by provenance. Recent research by Kerry found that globally 49% of consumers are now considering sustainability when buying food and drink.

“Consumers are also actively seeking out sustainable food and beverage products that have a significantly positive impact on the planet as well as on their personal health and wellbeing, looking for products with consumer-friendly ingredients, clean label claims and locally sourced ingredients. This is all contributing to the flavour trends we are seeing today, which are pointing towards authentic taste experiences,” Nair added.

Starting a taste story

In a dynamic and fast-changing environment, innovation has never been so important to meet consumer preferences — and taste is the first place to start.

“Taste is the foundation of innovation and successful new product development. Kerry aims to go further, together with our customers, making inspiration actionable and helping to create products that will stand out in the marketplace. If you want to build taste into the story of your brand, we can help you go further,” Nair concluded.

Download the 2022 APAC Taste Charts here.