Survival Guide: Flavors

<p>Flavor trends are constantly evolving as American palates seek different types of global cuisine, with consumers today gearing toward regional, authentic heat from spicy Latin, Asian, Indian and African foods.</p>

Flavor trends are constantly evolving as American palates seek different types of global cuisine from all over the world. Consumers today gravitate toward regional, authentic heat from spicy Latin, Asian, Indian and African foods, a trend that has been driven by cooking shows, food trucks, an increase in world travel, and a growing Hispanic population. This combination of factors has consumers looking for more variety in foods and raises the bar for food product designers to turn up the heat.

In "Survival Guide: Flavors," a free Digital Issue from Food Product Design, food trend experts and U.S. chefs discuss techniques for crafting bold, pungent flavors to satisfy consumers' cravings for spicy cuisine. Chefs can use dozens of spices and chiles to add some kick to their dishes, and many use certain chile pairs to either create instant heat on the tongue or to bring out the flavors more slowly. Some of today's most popular ingredients used for adding spice include jalapeños and chipotles, but chefs are also exploring alternative options, such as the Peruvian aji amarillo and the Sichuan pepper. In addition, chefs can use carriers—wine, acid or citrus juices—to create complex tastes and give dishes a bit more pizzazz. 

Some of the strongest influences in current flavor trends come from Southeast Asia, Latin America, Morocco and India, each featuring their own unique traditions for spicing up cultural cuisine. In Asian cultures, using spicy kimchi as an ingredient is becoming popular in everything from burgers to frozen food. Mexican chiles are also showing up in a range of products—from bagels and breakfast sandwiches to condiments and dips. In addition, Morocco is making its mark through the Fatali pepper, grown in Central or Southern African, and the fruity Aleppo pepper, originally from Turkey. India is one of the leading cuisines for heat featuring complex layering of spices.

This Survival Guide is packed with information for satisfying American consumers' evolving taste for hot and spicy ethnic cuisine. The Buyer's Guide—Flavors also contains a helpful directory of flavors suppliers, complete with company descriptions and contact information for use within the food industry.

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