Tracking the trend: Smoky flavor vs. smoke as ingredient

By Roger Lane

Consumers have become educated about their food. The result? More attention than ever is being paid to labels. Clean. Natural. Organic. Those aren’t buzzwords, they’re expectations that manufacturers must meet.

That means a repositioning when it comes to something like smoke. Consumers want vibrant, complex flavors in their food, and smoky, charred notes fit the bill for that flavor delivery. But they don’t want smoke as an additive, because they see it as unhealthy. Enter smokeless, smoky flavors.

  • Smoked.
  • Blackened.
  • Blistered.
  • Charred.

That’s what consumers want. And they want it in everything. According to Mintel, “smoked” was the top flavor callout on 2016 menus, and it was used for meats, vegetables and even cocktails. Consumers want a true sensorial overload in what they eat and drink. Smoky flavors bring the heat, bring the spice and keep that flame burning.