International flavors bring the world to travel-limited consumers

As the world marks a year of COVID-19-related restrictions, particularly around travel, consumers yearn to break out of the familiar. They are finding they can do so in their very own kitchens with colorful and tasty flavor blends with international flair.

A recent piece in Culinology magazine focused on this trend, noting how the sights and sounds of everything from sporting events to famous locales is being captured by sauce and condiment makers. The result is more home-kitchen innovation than ever before, and it is an exciting new market to tap, says Roger Lane, senior marketing manager at Sensient Flavors.

“In the past few months, we’ve seen an uptick in customer requests for unique heat options,” Lane says. “For instance, they’re trying to move away from the standard jalapeño and look at heat in a more balanced way. They don’t want just a tongue-burning sensation, they want to balance that with an identifiable flavor profile. We also continue to see interest in the plant-based and meat-alternative categories, so our sauce/marinade customers are looking for plant-based solutions that are flavorful but still meet the meat- or dairy-free claim.”

The future is bright — and flavorful

That consumer focus on healthy choices will mean sauces, dressings, marinades and condiments in general will continue to innovate around unique plant-based solutions, he predicts.

“The same goes for sodium and sugar reduction,” Lane adds. “These needs aren’t going away, and consumers are very demanding. They want the full sodium and/or sugar experience with no discernable difference in flavor. Manufacturers need to think carefully about how they achieve those goals. It’s not as simple as just pulling out the offending ingredients — they have to be replaced with sodium and sweetness enhancers that label as natural flavor and look clean on the label.”

All this comes together to create a “perfect storm,” he told the magazine, noting that “this ‘perfect storm’ situation presents a unique opportunity to give consumers an easy way to provide variety, add a burst of flavor to their same old dishes and explore the world through flavor.”

Read the entire Culinology article here.