MELVILLE, N.Y. — Make way for Cuban cuisine, tea-inspired treats and green vegetables. Flavor trends for 2016 unveiled by Comax Flavors underscore consumer demand for healthier foods, simple ingredients and culinary adventure.
The Melville-based flavor company has developed four new collections, each featuring a variety of food and beverage applications, including ready-to-drink beverages, dairy products, baked foods, confections, sauces and seasonings. The “Green Goodness” and “Cup of Tea” collections appeal to consumers seeking less processed, healthier fare, and “Cuban Culture” and “Chef’s Table” groups were created to engage younger generations, multicultural consumers and experience-driven foodies.
Featuring Avocado Pear, Broccoflower, Green Jackfruit and Jalapeño Honey, the Green Goodness collection debuts in response to consumer interest for natural, minimally processed foods. The growth of green vegetables and fruits also is driven by a rise in stem-to-root cooking, supported by the sustainability trend.
“There’s been a gradual increase in green-themed products, and to tap into this trend and meet the demand for green vegetables and fruits, we created a unique green range,” said Catherine Armstrong, vice-president of corporate communications for Comax Flavors.
Preparations for the Green Goodness collection range from raw and cold-pressed to grilled or cooked.
Cup of Tea
Tea has gained steam in the United States, where retail sales of the beverage grew nearly 20% to $7.3 billion between 2009 and 2014, said Mintel. Matcha and other specialty teas are trending as flavors in non-alcoholic beverages, according to the National Restaurant Association’s annual What’s Hot 2015 Culinary Forecast.
“To address consumers’ affinity for tea with healthful benefits, we developed a variety of emerging tea profiles,” Ms. Armstrong said.
Flavors in the collection include Cascara Tea, Dandelion Tea, Matcha Rose and Turmeric Orange Ginger.
Cuban cuisine is expected to heat up on menus, as the recent lift of the U.S. Cuban embargo has catapulted Cuba and its culture into the spotlight.
“As we know, multicultural consumers and the younger generation are driving new flavor profiles,” Ms. Armstrong said. “We see Cuba as a natural extension for the next ethnic food inspiration and wanted to offer authentic flavors.”
Café Cubano, Cuban Sofrito, Mamey Mojito and Toasted Coconut Flan are featured in Comax Flavors’ Cuban Culture collection.
Consumers are craving authentic culinary experiences, fueled by technology and a desire for adventure. Supporting the trend is Netflix’s 2015 documentary series “Chef’s Table,” which profiles world-renowned chefs and offers a behind-the-scenes peek at ingredient preparation, meal plating and more.
“Flavor and texture are key factors in consumers’ culinary experiences,” Ms. Armstrong said. “How food and beverages are prepared, such as fermenting, pickling and smoking, is becoming significant. We created an array of flavors based on specific preparations to appeal to a wide audience.”Comax Flavors’ Chef’s Table group includes Coconut Vinegar, Pickled Artichoke, Roasted Strawberry and Smoked Avocado.