The Future of Flavor: New Introductions at Fancy Food

Articles
June 30, 2010

The Future of Flavor: New Introductions at Fancy Food

The National Association of Specialty Food Trade (NASFT) reports that new specialty food product introductions dropped by 37 percent last year with slippage in nearly every category as manufacturers slashed spending on research, development and marketing in favor of concentrating on improving sales of existing lines.

The National Association of Specialty Food Trade (NASFT) reports that new specialty food product introductions dropped by 37 percent last year with slippage in nearly every category as manufacturers slashed spending on research, development and marketing in favor of concentrating on improving sales of existing lines.

Still, sales of specialty foods and beverages grew by 2.7 percent in 2009 with $50.34 billion at retail. And by the looks of the recent NASFT Fancy Food Show which wrapped up yesterday in New York City, manufacturers are back with strong new flavor profiles and new introductions to entice consumers. And while innovation may not have been peering out from every aisle, there were some new discoveries to be had by grocers looking to step up their offerings.

Supermarket Guru sent a team of young foodies, members of its Koodies social network, to the show in search of the next generation’s taste profile. They gravitated toward spiced up flavor profiles from Jamaican Jerk peanuts and cashews to ghost pepper salsa. There were also sweet attractions from a line of sorbet squeeze pops to new gluten free maple crunch to a chocolate pop created to swirl around in hot milk to produce hot chocolate on a cold winter nights. They were also drawn to the vinegar selections – in particular a honey apple cider vinegar – as well as smoked gouda popcorn, a line of frozen basmati rice, and espresso coffee soda. Koodie members will post their own impressions of the show next week on Koodies.net.

Manufacturers kicked up the flavor profile this year with habeneros and jalapeños used as pickling spices, as well as sriracha – the popular Asian condiment – being introduced as an ingredient in packaged goods. A balanced heat index is essential here allowing an intense flavor without the burn. Hot innovative profiles include the use of ingredients like ginger or combining profiles such as pineapple salt red chili preserves and chipotle nut confections.

Indian cuisine continues to grow. Young entrepreneurs are marketing products that allow the user to think beyond opening a jar of Tikka Masala to fusing American ingredients like penne, shrimp and fresh vegetables with a blend of spices featuring cardamom, fenugreek, fennel, mustard seed, cloves, black pepper, and paprika.

Ready to eat fusion products are also ready to inspire consumers from introductions of Cuban spring rolls, nut spread with turmeric, masala marinara, and pasta sauce with harissa.

One can only hope global flavor profiles introduced will be embraced by consumers – spices such as merken, pilli pilli, and sumac; fruits like the Chilean Carica; and florals such as hibiscus. Hummus and harissa are expected to make a mark this year as consumers look for new condiments and spreads to entertain, as well as interesting candy combinations like chocolate with amaranth or quinoa.