olam food ingredients (ofi) is predicting a greater fusion of Eastern and Western flavours in confectionery, bakery, beverages and snacks after combining insights of its innovation experts in key regional markets with AI-powered research in a move to predict the next big cocoa flavour trends.
The research, which uses predictive analysis to scan online recipes, restaurant menus and e-commerce sites to identify budding trends before they hit the mainstream, discovered that Asian flavours such as dragon fruit, sesame, yuzu and more are taking off in the US and Europe while Western flavours spanning butterscotch, marshmallow and salted caramel are becoming more popular in South Asian countries including Indonesia and India.
As a result of this research, ofi’s ingredients innovation experts have turned these trends into cocoa pairings and dishes we could expect to see on menus or in stores soon.
“Increasing globalisation means flavour trends are crossing borders faster than ever. And thanks to social media, a local craze can turn into a worldwide phenomenon overnight. This is a big opportunity for food and beverage companies to get ahead, but first they need to be able to pair the right flavors and translate emerging trends into great-tasting products in the development kitchen,” explained Edward Norder, Head of EMENA Innovation, ofi, adding: “That’s why we have created new cocoa pairings and innovative concepts inspired by this ‘East meets West’ trend. From chocolate-coated dragon fruit ice cream and a yuzu-infused chocolate panna cotta for the US, to a chipotle chili, lime and passionfruit dessert for Germany, and a black forest and cocoa flavoured frappe-style drink for Indonesia.
“Choosing the right cocoa powder is a powerful tool for helping manufacturers win on taste. So, we hope what we’re sharing today will inspire our customers to look again at cocoa as a pairing for fresh, on-trend flavour combinations and applications that will surprise and delight consumers around the globe. Thanks to our network of Customer Solutions Centers, we’re well placed to support customers with ingredients that can be sustainable and traceable, and to test whether these new concepts can be commercialised at scale.”
The top flavour trends identified by ofi by Europe are dragon fruit, sesame and chilli, as dragon fruit has begun to trend in the UK in bakery, sesame is becoming popular in French bakery and chilli is emerging in German confectionery particularly in chocolate bars.
Over in the US, lychee, yuzu and miso were found to have influence over the bakery space but also in confectionery, for example a miso chocolate fudge.
Finally, in Asia, marshmallow, black forest and cookies and cream were picked out – as marshmallow is on the rise in confectionery in Indonesia, black forest is popular in Indonesian beverages and cookies and cream is an emerging trend in India in confectionery.
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