The Rise of Experiential FlavorsThe Rise of Experiential Flavors
August 27, 2009
Have you ever bitten into a snack or sipped a soda and thought, I couldve done this better? Of course, you have; youre a food technologist. But more civilians are also betting that they can flavor their foods betteror at least more to their likingthemselves.
Theyre inspiring a growing wave of experiential foods and flavors that recruit consumers into the act of multisensory enjoyment. The next big trend category could be the idea of sensory experiences in food and beverages, says Kimberly Carson, director, beverage solutions group, Sensient Flavors LLC, Indianapolis. No longer is it just about trying to get to your next meal; its about the experience. People are looking for bolder taste experiences, or different kinds of sensations, she says.
Theyre also looking to do things their way. TiVo and iPods have us all convinced that we can personalize every aspect of our livesincluding our packaged foods. Consumers enjoy increased access to resources that educate them on choices in what to eat or drink, says Jackiedra Wilson, marketing, Cargill Flavor Systems, Cincinnati. These resources range from label comparisons at the grocer to social networks on the web. And theres no escaping the sense of empowermentand entitlementtheyll engender.
Consumers want to feel as if theyre selecting what theyre going to eat or drink, or that theyve taken part in making it, Carson says. She points to Internet contests that allow fans to choose the latest flavor for a line extension, or the powder packets that weve seen where youre able to incorporate two different flavors, and the consumer could blend them to their liking. As consumers raise their voices and technology advances to accommodate them, there may come a time when everyone has a handor at least a fingerin product development.
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