United States—Various sources are forecasting top flavor trends for 2016, and many have an international flair. These trends may affect 2016 options for foods, beverages, functional foods/drinks and food service items.

According to the McCormick Flavor Forecast, spicy and tangy foods are hot, particularly those inspired by Southeast Asian and Tropical Asian foods, notably Malaysian and Filipino. Said Kevan Vetter, McCormick executive chef, “Look for Southeast Asian sambal sauce powered by chilies, rice vinegar, and garlic to take kitchens by storm.”

With an eye on functional food blends, McCormick is also predicting healthy ingredients to take center stage in combinations that include interesting spices, such as chia seed paired with citrus, chili and garlic. Also on this front, shoppers may be interested in tasty protein options, like pigeon peas mixed with cumin and coconut.

Bell Flavors is also predicting international palates to dominate, with Indian flavors inspiring new food applications and Cuban flavors coming onto the scene. The firm also believes a “global street food” trend may take hold, specifically with options from Morocco, Germany, Quebec, Vietnam and Mexico.

Last, Firmenich says the 2016 Flavor of the Year is coconut, whether used in sweet or savory applications. The company believes everything from soup to popcorn to chips will be influenced by this trend.


Published in WholeFoods Magazine, February 2016 (online 12/31/16)