Consumers take their health and nutrition seriously. Restaurants and grocery stores are responding by providing alternatives to artificially flavored products. Americans are looking for natural products when they shop or order food, and the industry is developing creative ways to flavor food with less salt and sugar.
Artificial Flavors: No Longer in Favor
Consumers demanding clean, natural ingredients are increasing the pressure on manufacturers to replace artificial flavors, which many consumers believe have health risks. Consumers have historically consumed MSG in sauces, broths, meat dishes, and savory snacks. Brands advertising products as MSG-free are attracting the attention of health-conscious consumers. Vegetable broth, a product that often uses MGS, now advertises yeast as a flavor enhancer. Flavors derived from corn or herbal extracts are showing up in cakes and soups.
Salts Reduction Is Gaining Traction
While salt improves the sensory properties of food, consumers know that high sodium intake increases the risk of chronic diseases. Soy sauces fermented with umami flavor are an alternative for reducing salt content, and potato chips flavored with seaweed are a strong no-salt choice for consumers.
Consumers want to avoid sugar to fight obesity and prevent diabetes and cardiovascular and liver conditions. Branding products with low-sugar claims is a popular move for juices, carbonated drinks, and cereals. Pineapple extract acts as a flavor enhancer by adding natural flavors to beer wort or grapes when making wine, beer, and fruit juices. Green peas and turmeric extracts are at the forefront of plant-based flavor enhancers.
Combining Health and Flavor
People tend to choose foods that have dual functionalities: if a product tastes good and offers health benefits, consumers are more apt to reach for it. While probiotics improve gut health, they can also enhance the flavor of baked products in combination with yeast. The acacia plant lends a vanilla flavor to dairy products. Algae can enhance flavor through the combination of seaweed and sherry vinegar. Mushrooms, a popular superfood, can improve the umami or savory flavor of foods.
Natural flavor enhancers will continue to replace artificial flavors as food professionals reduce the salt and sugar content in food and drinks. Combining taste with health benefits will inspire health conscious-consumers to flock to manufacturers that are at the forefront of the trend.