The Kerry food company recently released its 2024 taste charts, noting the flavors that have gained the most momentum in recent years. And, more than anything, Kerry’s findings illustrate that Americans are embracing bold, foreign flavors like never before.
“I see more of a focus on spice trends and stronger flavor profiles,” Darcey Macken, the CEO of Myna Snacks, told The Food Institute. “Now there’s more of a spin with global spice as well as sweet heat.”
Meanwhile, in a statement, Pearl Lemon Catering noted that it has seen a noteworthy increase in the popularity of bold flavors in the U.S., featuring ingredients like Yuzu and Japanese citrus.
Let’s delve deeper into Kerry’s recent research.
The diverse flavor profiles of chocolate, including the intense bitterness of dark chocolate, the creamy sweetness of milk chocolate, and the rich, buttery taste of white chocolate are beloved the world over, the Kerry report noted.
Kerry also noted that truffle chocolate is the fastest-growing chocolate flavor in product launches in the past five years. Meanwhile, ruby chocolate has enjoyed increased popularity in recent years, especially in Europe.
“In 2024, products that service the emotional and physical needs of consumers will catch speed, balancing pleasure with health and wellness goals,” said Whitney Bembenick, CRO at Endangered Species Chocolate. “So, positioning better-for-you chocolate with ingredients naturally higher in valuable ingredients, like almonds, is likely to become popular.”
Per capita chocolate consumption is currently highest in Switzerland, followed by the U.S., Germany, France, and the U.K.
As far as sweet products in America are concerned, Kerry’s research identified the following flavors as “emerging,” meaning they were the fastest-growing flavors over the past year:
- Cotton candy
- Cinnamon bun
The salty snack category – chips, puffed snacks, meat snacks, etc. – has also experienced outsized innovation in America. While flavors like truffle mushroom and habanero chili have gained momentum the last few years, Kerry identified the following snack flavors as emerging in recent months:
- Sweet heat
- Taco seasoning
- Spicy pickle
Unsurprisingly, dishes from Italy, Mexico, and China have been among the most popular cuisines in the U.S. over the past five years. In a mild upset, however, European dishes from countries like Ireland and Germany have been among the fastest-growing flavors over the past few years.
Kerry found the following to be the fastest-growing cuisines in America – in other words, cuisines that it considers to be emerging:
Food and beverage businesses looking to highlight their bold new flavors to customers should consider getting creative with social media, smaller drops for testing, and using consumer feedback, Macken said.
“Discovery is the hardest part these days,” the CEO said. “Retailers struggle with LTOs, and it’s hard for consumers to find and/or become aware of new (products and dishes). … It’s not one size fits all.”