Tastes that offer novelty, over-the-top indulgence and targeted health benefits are set to drive consumer preferences in Canada in 2022, according to a report by global taste and nutrition company Kerry.
Kerry’s Global Taste Charts for 2022 reveals the flavours and ingredients that are set to inspire food and beverage innovators across North America, Europe, Latin America, the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East and Africa over the coming year.
Trends that were accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic have developed further and will become more sophisticated in 2022, with consumers seeking new tastes paired with familiar formats and flavours. This will lead to interesting combinations, such as beer blended with kombucha and sage, and chocolate milkshakes with lavender.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected consumers on a deeply emotional level, changing consumers’ priorities and perceptions about health and wellness," Soumya Nair, global consumer research and insights director at Kerry, said in a release: "This has certainly impacted their overall food and beverage preferences, challenging innovators to create new tastes that surprise and delight consumers and drive new product development and innovation successes.”
Canadian taste trends for 2022
A desire for authentic flavours is being driven by an interest in long-term wellness and overall health following the pandemic, while cravings for more novel flavours—such as pecan nut and pink peppercorn—are being led by consumers seeking surprise and fun in their foods and beverages.
Restrictions around movement have also led consumers to “travel the world” through their tastebuds, with different chilies trending in the Savoury and Salty Snacks category—and overarchingly in beverage development. One emerging taste, Sweet & Spicy Chili, is being seen in various applications.
Indulgence and comfort are also important to consumers and can be invoked through traditional flavours—such as chocolate and other sweet temptations—or from visiting a foodservice chain that was closed during the pandemic. Tastes such as Neapolitan, apple fritter, ruby chocolate, brown sugar and pistachio are emerging across food and beverage categories, introducing more complex flavour profiles into consumers’ preferred products.
Meanwhile, with an increasing focus on gut health, immune support and emotional well-being consumers are looking for better-for-you food and beverages that make them feel they’re taking an active role in their own future health. As always, taste is leading the way, with acai, sea buckthorn, cider vinegar, cinnamon, maple and cranberry some of the flavourful ingredients Canadian consumers are embracing.
“Emerging flavours and ingredients paint a picture of the proactive consumer, looking for functionally-forward food and beverages that help them achieve their overall health and wellness goals," said Nair. "Additionally, in the current travel-deprived marketplace, people want to travel through their tastebuds with authentic original Asian and Indian flavours set to make a bold comeback in emerging foods and drinks. While consumers turn to familiar favourites, this year we will see an increased hunger for new experiences and thrilling new flavours. We will see consumers seeking an element of surprise from traditional formats, as well as comfort brands can appeal to this desire for novelty by pairing emerging and up-and-coming flavours with old classics.”
Sustainability is another important driver, with consumers now seeking ingredients that are responsibly sourced and back by provenance. Recent research by Kerry has found, globally, that 49% of consumers now consider sustainability when purchasing food and beverage products.
“Consumers are also actively seeking out sustainable food and beverage products that have a significantly positive impact on the planet as well as on their personal health and wellbeing, looking for products with consumer-friendly ingredients, clean label claims and locally and ethically sourced ingredients. In the charts, we see this demand through ingredients such as botanicals and spices ethically sourced from their country of origin (such as cloves, cardamom, tamarind, black pepper, Lavender etc.). We summarize this psychological behaviour shift as ‘Provenance with a conscience.’ This all contributes to the flavour trends we see today and will see tomorrow, which point towards purposeful and authentic taste experiences,” said, Nair, adding that in dynamic and fast-changing environment, innovation has never been so important to meet consumer preferences. “Taste is the foundation of innovation and successful new product development that captures consumer attention."
Kerry leverages a blend of sources to create these charts and provide in-depth analysis of taste trends, from scanning product launch activity through restaurant/café menu penetration and research reports. This builds on its proprietary internal insights engines—Trendspotter, for example—that peer into social media influencer content. Kerry’s Canada Taste Charts report is available for download here.