How to capitalize on consumers’ desire for exotic flavors? It’s a mystery!

During the pandemic, consumers couldn’t physically travel, so they made up for that by diving into unique, fun flavors from around the world. That tendency to liven up food and beverages will continue as communities and economies reopen, so savvy manufacturers are stepping up their offerings accordingly.

A recent article in Nutritional Outlook magazine dug into this trend, talking about how consumers wanted the familiar and comfortable during lockdown, while also wanting to inject a little culinary adventure into their lives.

“Consumers are actually asking for both,” Sensient trends and insights specialists told the magazine. “As consumers locked down, they turned to familiar dishes and flavors to help them cope with the stress as well as make it easier for them to prepare meals at home. Tried-and-true familiar recipes were revisited and enjoyed for the nostalgia factor. At the same time, consumers … were desperate for something new, and trying a new, exotic dish — with all of the flavors associated with it — was an easy way to ‘travel’ without ever having to leave the comfort and safety of home.”

Consumers will want to continue those adventures even as their lives go back to some semblance of normal. Food and beverage producers will keep up by being willing to travel even further afield and “expect the unexpected.” Sensient is leading the way with an internal “mystery flavor” effort that encourages our flavorists to think even further outside the box than they normally do.

“Our bright, confident and bold mystery flavor is just that — a mystery,” Sensient trends and insights specialists explained. “When we developed the idea of a mystery flavor, we didn’t give our flavorists any flavor cues but instead gave them a list of words to symbolize what we were looking for. The flavor is made up of several different flavor notes, and it is influenced by each taster’s experiences. We’ve heard everything from taffy to summer peach and everywhere in between. Consumers crave these interactive experiences with the products they use, and this is how we brought that idea to our Trends to Taste program for this year.”

Want to explore further? You can read the article here, and we’d love to share more insights on how to add flavor and variety to your products. Contact us at Sensient Flavors & Extracts to learn more.