Tasting exotic cuisine and ordering adventurous meals are musts on international trips. With recent global travel restrictions, many people are trying foreign flavors at home. According to T. Hasegawa’s 2022 Food and Beverage Flavor Trends Report, over 36% of US consumers want to see authentic international flavors reflected in their familiar grocery aisle favorites. Join us as we discuss what’s driving consumer wanderlust in the food and beverage industry and explore the top exotic flavor trends for 2022.
Four Drivers of the Escapism Flavor Trend
- Nostalgia and comfort food
Nostalgic themes in the fashion and entertainment industries are seeping into how people prepare food. The influx of Asian immigrants in the US during the 1980s1 introduced us to Korean supermarkets. Today, modern foodies continue to seek out diverse flavors in local stores that remind them of their home abroad.
- Economic uncertainty and reduced tourism
Although the hard lockdowns of 2020 may be in the past, international tourism and business travel are still below pre-pandemic levels2. Unstable economic conditions in many countries have reduced consumers’ overall disposable income and capacity for global travel, driving them to try foreign flavors at home instead.
- Overcoming monotonous lifestyles
Work-from-home culture is booming, and many people still find it challenging to adjust to the new routine. Consumers who work, relax, and cook at home every day are looking for new ways to spice up tired home-cooked meals with international flavor.
- A new interest in Latin American food
The 2022 Food and Beverage Flavor Trends Report noted a broadening interest in Latin American cuisine with 61% of consumers enjoying its flavor variety. The US experience of Latin cooking has mostly been limited to Mexican food, but in 2022, flavors from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Columbia, and Argentina are joining the market.
Top Escapism Flavor Trends for 2022
- Hibiscus – a tart and floral taste from West Africa excellent for teas, smoothies, and cocktails.
- Yuzu – a sweet and sour Japanese citrus flavor that pairs well with cinnamon and grapefruit.
- Goji berry – a tart flavor similar to cranberry that works well in fruity iced teas.
- Baobab – a sweet, citrusy taste from West Africa best for brownies, cookies, and ice cream.
- Maca – a root vegetable from Peru with a malt, butterscotch, and caramel flavor.
- Mochi – a sweet rice dish from Japan that adds a unique texture to ice cream.
- Cajun – a spicy blend of paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic, oregano, and onion.
- Harissa – a fiery North African cumin and chili paste similar to sriracha.
- Chimichurri – a spicy Mexican flavor with garlic, cilantro, parsley, and chili.
- Guajillo chili – a Mexican chili with a smoky, slightly fruity flavor and notes of berries and tea.
- Kimchi – a Korean flavor with a rich umami taste comparable to sauerkraut.
- Satay sauce – roasted peanut flavors from Thailand and Indonesia that pair well with coconut.
Consumers are spending more time at home in 2022, exploring international flavors through home-cooked meals and store-bought snacks that remind them of their favorite travel destinations. As the US demand for Asian, Latin American, and African cuisine increases, the food and beverage industry should adapt its offerings to include spicy or exotic flavors.
Advanced Biotech is a trusted supplier of natural food flavorings, extracts, and aromatics to help packaged food producers supply more diverse and flavorful products. Please contact us for more information.