Tastes associated with travel and nostalgia to grow in popularity

Kerry has released its 2021 Taste Charts which predict the taste and flavours that will be popular in the coming year. The company has predicted that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to impact consumers’ taste buds with traditional tastes undergoing a resurgence as people seek comfort in their food and beverages. Consumers around the world are gravitating towards comforting and familiar tastes, with classics such as brownie, s’mores, apple pie, custard and cream soda expected to increase in popularity.

The research from Kerry has identified the top taste trends for 2021:

  • Globally, the popularity of international cuisines is expected to surge as consumers travel the world with their taste buds through exotic flavours
  • This is balanced by a desire of familiarity as consumers crave sweet treats incorporating comforting flavours and taking inspiration from traditional desserts
  • Health and well-being will continue to be a consumer priority with more people than ever expected to try fermented foods, superfood flavours and health-promoting botanicals such as turmeric and basil in their foods and beverages

Consumers gravitating towards familiarity is not uncommon during times of uncertainty. Te craving for comfort food became more pronounced in 2020 than in previous years, with one in three consumers eating and drinking habits reverting to more familiar tastes, and this is expected to continue in the upcoming year. American consumers are expected to opt for more savoury favourites such as Mac & Cheese, pizza and taco based flavours whereas European consumers ill crave the tastes of traditional desserts including banana split, apple pie and chocolate eclairs.

2021 will also see consumers craving the taste of travel and adventure, with the popularity of international cuisines increasing in response to heightened travel restrictions. It is expected that the most popular cuisines in 2021 will be South Korean, Indian, Thai, Spanish and Greek with flavours such as cumin, Greek gyros, wasabi and balsamic identified as likely to become increasingly popular across savoury snacks and foods. Notably, European consumers are looking to the East as ingredients such as seaweed, kimchi and miso expected to be amongst the most popular new flavours of 2021.

As COVID-19 continues to impact on daily life, consumers will be increasingly health conscious, selecting ingredients and flavours that promise additional health benefits. Fermented foods, such as kombucha and sauerkraut and superfood ingredients including turmeric, cacao and basil will continue to grow in popularity. Consumers are also demonstrating increased concern about the sourcing of food and ingredients, opting increasingly for options that have been produced locally.

John Savage, CEO of taste at Kerry, commented: “We are predicting that there will be two diverse trends evolving over the coming year, both of which are being driven by COVID-19. On the one hand we are anticipating that tastes and flavours associated with familiarity and nostalgia will come back with people looking for comfort and reassurance through tastes such as apple pie, brownies and custard. We are also anticipating a health and well-being drive with kombucha, very strong teas and vinegars increasing in popularity due to people wanting to be healthier.

“Our global team of Kerry Insights and Taste experts have provided insights on mainstream, key, up and coming, and emerging flavours and ingredients from around the world. This perspective into flavours and ingredients shaping the industry – across the sweet, beverage, savoury, and salty snack categories – helps Kerry’s customers craft a clear, research-backed roadmap for creating new products, or revitalizing existing choices in ways that will delight, surprise and excite consumers.”