2015 Trend: Changing Palates, New Flavors,

Hagebutten Shake1Every 8 seconds, a child is born, while every 11 seconds a person dies in the United States. Just in 2014, the US population grew by 2.5 million people (including immigration) to reach 320 million. Different kinds of family structures have evolved, the average household size decreased over the years, „Millenials and Generation Z“ (the marketers terms for young folks between the ages of 15 to 35) determine, what’s hip and what’s not, as do “minorities” who today constitute the “majority” in many large urban markets. These demographic changes influence what new flavors and food products will be offered in the next few years and how they are to be sold. Here are the predictions from the Specialty Food Association and the world’s leading flavor provider McCormick & Company:

  1. Changing palates:  Population growth, immigration and changes in family structures are the main reasons why households in the next 110 years buy and consume very different foods than generations before them. By the end of 2014, the population in the US surpassed 320 million, growing by 2.5 million people in just one year. By the year 2050, about 400 million people may live in the United States.
  2. The new normal: Any successful new food that hits the market must be clean (few ingredients) and clear (transparent about ingredients, origin, production). This is especially important in the restaurant industry. A recent survey confirms chefs’ attitudes and inclinations towards local and nutrient-rich foods, as well as “estate-branded” items and some imported food that is truly authentic. Some venerated mass market food brands and fast food restaurants will further decline in market share or sales.
  3. New Asian: Korean and Vietnamese regional cuisine (banh mi, ramen); Japanese 7 Spice (shichimi togarashi = chile, nori, sesame, orange zest)
  4. New Mediterranean, Turkish Shawarma Spice Blend (cumin, coriander, garlic, paprika, turmeric, cloves cayenne, blackpepper, cinnamon)
  5. New emerging “super” crops and fruits include Kaniwa (a South American grain ) baobab powder, fonio (two new African grains) and soursop (a Latin American fruit). Cauliflower in various new formats will resurge in restaurants and gourmet home kitchens;  nutritious natural ingredients, such as seaweed, seabuckthorn, sage, and rosehip (the latter three are especially popular natural health foods in Germany) will be increasingly used in a variety of “health foods”
  6. New flavors for comfort foods:  Some of the American standard comfort foods, such as cupcakesm cookies and casseroles will be Re-imagined with different spices or cooking methods.
  7. Online sales and delivery; social media; Same Day grocery delivery of fresh, local produce and customized deliveries Google Express, Amazon, Instacart and Whole Foods, Customized Delivery USPS, central pick up.
  8. Tea: Away from cheap mass- produced tea to unique loose tea blends, tea infusions, celebrity tea blends, tea and spice blends (tea and turmeric) black tea and grain blends (matcha, kombutcha).
  9. Savory snack bars with bold flavors, such as roasted jalapeno, sweet chile, hiney smoked barbecue, honey or Bavarian Sweet mustard, orange honey and cherry pistacchio, sundried tomato, basil and olive walnut bar.
  10. Meals in Bowls: Breakfast muesli bowls (fruits, nuts, granola, juice blend, milk, Lunch bowl, chicken hummus, baby spinach, chopped cilantro, Dinner Bowl: rice bowl, microwaveable.
  11. Culinary Cannabis. Back to earth! The legalization of Marihuana in various US states and an ever-more relaxed attitude towards “grass” in the US and EU motivated food scientist to take a new look at the health benefits of “Cannabis sativa.” Expect teas, soft drinks and snacks to contain some “weed” without the buzz.
  12. Eggless mayo:  When Hampton Creek came our with “Just Mayo”, the maker of Hellmann’s – the world’s leading real mayonnaise brand – was up in arms and went straight to court. After all, there’s an FDA standard of identity for mayonnaise that Hampton Creek does not follow. Instead of eggs, they use yellow chick pea protein, and thus a perfectly vegan ingredient. Unilever dropped the lawsuit in December 2014, most likely due to popular pressure and negative publicity. But can real Mayo ever be vegan?

US wine consumption grew steadily over past 18 years

Steady growth forecasted over the next five years

In 2011, the US consumption of wine increased 3% to 312.4 million 9-liter equivalent cases. This marks 18 consecutive years of growth. “As consumers discover new varietals, regions and price points, overall wine consumption is expected to continue to increase over the next five years,” said Adam Rogers, senior research analyst for the Beverage Information Group. Source: MediaPost Communications/Marketing Daily

Chocolate tastes best when it’s the last piece

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The last piece of chocolate on a plate tastes the best. That is the result of a test by researchers from the University of Michigan who asked 52 students to evaluate the taste of five unmarked chocolate bars they had to pick from a bag. The researcher then told half of this group just before the fifth pick that this was the last one. Law and behold: the majority of this group claimed that the last piece tasted the best of the sample, in fact, was one of the best they ever tasted, no matter the flavor profile of the piece they picked. The control group had none of these claims. The conclusion: the evaluation of a sensory experience (or any other experience for that matter) depends on the expectations of finality. So … our tip for the day: savor the last piece with gusto. You never know what comes next.

Sweet Meet: Innovations at the world’s largest confectionary trade fair

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Reporting live from the ISM COLOGNE

Would you like to try chocolate with sauerkraut? How about a Cola in hard candy soli format? Ever snacked on a vegetable energy bar? Those are some of the “new to the world” products displayed at the ISM International Sweets Messe (German for trade fair) in Cologne, Germany.

Germany is a global confectionery powerhouse (and the world’s largest exporter of sweets). So, no wonder that the nearly 1,500 suppliers from 64 countries come every year to the Rhine river metropolis to show and sell their products to over 32,300 visitors. Cologne in January stands for candy, cookies, chocolates and snacks along with numerous Roman empire artifacts and the dominating 1,000 year old cathedral.

The big new product trends in the sweets industry this year are can be summarized under the motto “light and playful:”

  • lactose free chocolates
  • Vegetable energy bars
  • Fair Trade and Lacotose free Choc Santas
  • barbeque chocolate desserts
  • cheese & chocolate snacks
  • cranberry lebkuchen
  • Jelly Belly snack bar

The winning innovation selected by journalist of trade magazines was the KIDI-Choc concept offering children chocolate with a reduced sugar content, accompanied by a magazine with Russian fairy tales, general knowledge texts and fun puzzles.

Other winning concepts included popular and classic board and card games such as Twister, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, or Poker in and with chocolate. Some producers took classic, sophisticated desserts found in three-star restaurants and transformed them into consumer products. For example, shokoholics can look forward to marzipan bars with rose water or zabaione marzipan with raspberries from Niederegger. Crème brûlée too, is available, for example as a filling in a natural eggshell from Gut Springenheide.

Candy flavour fusions included mango/lime/orange with guarana extract and vitamin ACE, green tea/mint, and tea tree oil or with bergamot flavour. Alongside the exotic secrets that recently caused a sensation, producers are bringing almost forgotten local fruits and herbs back onto the sweet shelf in the form of serviceberries, sloes, quinces and of course, elderberries.

Finally, the science and art of making chocolate from cocoa will be revolutionized over the next years. After years of painstaking work, a major chocolate company has succeeded in defining fermentation for the cocoa sector. Although fermentation has been recognized as a science in many food segments for centuries, it has until now been largely left to chance in the cocoa sector. Using all-new procedures and bacteria cultures that are now being employed worldwide for the fist time, the company has created cocoa of unparalleled harmony and perfection. The cocoa will enable chocolatiers the world over to develop choice products for fans and connoisseurs that will probably usher in a new era of chocolate history.