The amount of food and beverage choices available in the marketplace leaves the option open to consumers to seek healthier choices, as well as new culinary experiences. In response to consumers demanding less processed and better-for-you products, Comax Flavors revealed trending flavors in 2016 for the following collections that appeal to different consumer tastes in an evolving society: the 2016 Green Goodness and Cup of Tea collections, as well as the Cuban Culture and Chef’s Table collections.
The Cuban Culture and Chef’s Table collections address the younger demographics, multicultural consumers and consumers craving authentic culinary experiences. However, each of the Comax Flavor collections are comprised of a variety of food and beverage applications that include ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages, alcohol, dairy, ice cream, baked goods, confections, sauces, marinades and seasonings.
Consumers are gravitating toward green vegetables and fruits, and the Green Goodness collection incorporates the health-and-wellness lifestyle trend consumers seek by offering natural, less processed, and better-for-you products. “There’s been a gradual increase in green-themed products and to tap into this trend and meet the demand for green vegetables and fruits, we created a unique green range," said Catherine Armstrong, vice president of corporate communications for Comax Flavors. Flavors included for this collection are avocado pear, broccoflower, green jackfruit and jalapeno honey.
Over in the Cup of Tea collections, flavors offered are cascara tea, dandelion tea, matcha rose, turmeric orange ginger. According to Mintel, U.S. retail sales of tea and RTD tea grew 19.8 percent to $7.3 billion between 2009 and 2014. In addition, the Tea Association of the USA cited 85 percent of tea consumed in America is iced tea, and loose leaf iced tea is gaining in popularity. The popularity of tea has led to a focus on specialty tea, namely matcha. “To address consumers’ affinity for tea with healthful benefits, we developed a variety of emerging tea profiles," Armstrong said.
With the recent lift of the U.S. Cuban embargo, new opportunities have been created for Americans that have propelled Cuba into the public eye. A big part of Cuban culture is cuisine, which was the catalyst to the Cuban Culture collection. “As we know, multicultural consumers and the younger generation are driving new flavor profiles. We see Cuba as a natural extension for the next ethnic food inspiration and wanted to offer authentic flavors," Armstong included. Flavors in this group are café Cubano, Cuban sofrito, mamey mojito, and toasted coconut flan.
Finally, the Chef’s Table collection was driven by technology as consumers are starting to become accustomed to sensory experiences. They are now seeking social, interactive and authentic culinary experiences, as evidenced by Netflix’s 2015 documentary Chef’s Table, which profiles renowned international chefs. The documentary allowed consumers to see behind the scenes where the chef is in action in the kitchen. “Flavor and texture are key factors in consumer’s culinary experiences. How food and beverage are prepared, such as fermenting, pickling and smoking, is becoming significant. We created an array of flavors based in specific preparations to appeal to a wide audience," Armstong said. These flavors are coconut vinegar, pickled artichoke, roasted strawberry and smoked avocado.