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Flavor Trends for 2013

All of the research chefs interviewed for this article agree that the trends for 2013 include flavors that are bold, regional and authentic. “Hitting the ‘middle of the road’ is going away; the new way has moved to bigger and bolder flavors that call out the specific ingredients being used to drive that flavor,” announces Eric Sparks, research chef for Park 100 Foods Inc. Kit Kefir, corporate executive chef for Schwan’s Food Service Inc., agrees. “Ethnic flavors continue to rise but we need to dive deeper into the sub-categories of those flavors and create not just a curry, for example, but curries specific to individual regions.”

As an example, Stephen Kalil, corporate executive chef for Frito-Lay North America Inc., points to the gas station Stripes and its Laredo Taco Co., near the Texas-Mexico border. They make fresh, authentic Mexican food that is not Tex-Mex or Southwest-influenced, but authentic Mexican foods.

Lorenzo Boni, executive chef for Barilla America Inc., adds that chefs are going back to “forgotten traditional recipes” but adding in modern flavor twists. Artisan-inspired fermented foods also are making a comeback. Chef Crane notes the growing popularity of preserved foods.

“People are getting back into brining, fermenting and making their own kimchi and sauerkraut,” explains Harry Crane, executive chef for Oscar Mayer. The more “macro” trends of clean labels, minimal processing, no preservatives and focus on local ingredients also are big, but it can be a challenge to bring such concepts to manufactured products. Still, the industry has seen labels becoming cleaner as developers eliminate preservatives and artificial ingredients.

Food and beverage makers are moving to accommodate the functional and dietary needs of specific consumers. “Functional ingredients are still important, and people gravitate towards products like vitamin water and gluten-free foods,” says Kiefer, while Ascoli notes the growing focus on allergen-free options.

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Article from, March 8, 2013, By Rachel Zemser, CCS, Contributing Editor