Flavor Trends

Just how much has the palette of American changed?  Here’s a listing of some of the flavors recently predicted to be among the most popular new flavors for food in 2008: acai, lychee, pomegranate, verbena, goji, noni, guarana, achiote, sofrito, ras-al-hanout, tandoori, chermoula, cumac, pandan and tamarind.  I wonder how many people could tell you what all of them are.   I wonder how many people could have told you that ANY of these existed ten years ago?  I consider myself a "foodie" and I have to say that I couldn’t tell you what all of these are. 

For those who are as ignorant as myself, here’s some links to help clear things up.  To start with, here are the "sweet" flavors that they say will be in the beverage, confectionery, bakery and dairy markets:

  • Acai (side note: Smirnoff just came out with a Strawberry Acai flavor of Smirnoff Ice)
  • Lychee
  • Pomegranate
  • Mint (I’m assuming you know about this one, but it is one taken for granted)
  • Blueberry (hopefully you know this one too)
  • Verbena
  • Goji
  • Noni (also known as "vomit fruit." awesome)
  • Guarana (not really new, but reaching widespread influence beyond energy drinks)

And here are the "savory" flavors predicted to become more popular in meat, condiments, sauces, soups and seasoning markets:

  • Achiote (tried finding this a few months ago – never did manage it)
  • Sofrito (this is a very interesting one – it is kind of like the Latin equivalent of the "trinity" in Cajun and Creole cooking or French Mirepoix
  • Ras-al-hanout (a tough one to define – basically a mix of high-end exotic spices, typically in the Moroccan or Middle-Eastern arena.  Don’t take this link as definitive, but exemplary)
  • Tandoori (yum!)
  • Tea smoked (I have heard of it, and have had food smoked with tea, but never done it myself.  Now I will have to!)
  • Chermoula (somewhat similar to ras-al-hanout in concept)
  • Cumac – I cannot find any information about this.  If anyone can help, please let me know!
  • Kaffir lime
  • Pandan
  • Tamarind (tasting tamarind for the first time is a mind-blowing experience.  I encourage you to pick up some tamarind paste and experiment with it)

One of the interesting things about this list is that many of the them, especially on the sweet side, have purported medicinal/health benefits as well.  Not only are we looking for more and different flavors – bolder, spicier, more challenging – but we’re looking to get health benefits from them as well.