Make way for maple, matcha and tikka masala.
Make way for pastelitos, medianoche, empanadas and other staples of Cuban cuisine, said Kelli Heinz, director of marketing and industry affairs for Bell Flavors & Fragrances.
“More people are going to be able to travel to Cuba over the next few years, which will definitely open our minds to what is in those traditional Cuban dishes and cuisine,” Ms. Heinz said. “We see that coming back over in the U.S. and going into mainstream restaurants, even outside the Miami area.”
Flavors: Avocado, green olive, plantain, dark rum, guava, key lime, mango, paprika, sofrito, sour orange
On the market: Bissinger’s Goji Guava with Camu Camu gummy candies, Inka Chips plantain chips, Savage Jerky Co. Mojo beef jerky, Brent & Sam's Key Lime White Chocolate Chip cookies
Spicy, complex and intoxicating flavors of India are inspiring cultural twists on traditional American snacks.
“What we found to be most relatable to the American market is American consumers are snacking more and more these days, and Indian consumers also snack, and their snacks are called chaats,” Ms. Heinz said. “A few traditional chaats that are in Indian cuisine are pani puri, samosas, kati rolls, which is kind of like an Indian burrito, and vada pav.”
Flavors: Cardamom, garam masala, ghee, pistachio, rosewater, saffron, tamarind, tikka masala
On the market: Rhythm Superfoods Bombay Curry kale chips, Bandar Foods Tikka Masala naan chips, Saffron Road Bombay Spice crunchy chickpeas, Masala Pop Saffron Rose popcorn
Packaged snacks are touting in-season flavors to convey freshness, Ms. Heinz said.
“Farmers markets are nothing new, but more and more consumers are shopping by the calendar and buying produce in-season,” Ms. Heinz said. “So we’re seeing a lot of callouts to specialty and seasonal ingredients in consumer packaged goods.”
Flavors: Mushrooms, dairy and herb for spring; cheese, honey and pepper for summer; squash, apple and bread for fall; root vegetables, citrus and charcuterie for winter
On the market: Pop Art Rosemary Truffle popcorn, Hammond’s Jalapeño Lime Brittle Crisp, Popcorn Factory Pumpkin Caramel Praline Crunch, Krave Basil Citrus jerky
Product developers are drawing flavor inspiration from popular street eats around the world, including Vietnamese iced coffee, Moroccan shawarma, Canadian poutine and German currywurst.
“Consumers are really understanding and learning about all different areas of the world, and street food is very common, especially with the increase of food trucks,” Ms. Heinz said.
With 62% of millennials and 56% of U.S. adults identifying as adventurous eaters, Ms. Heinz said confections and snack items offer an appealing, low-risk opportunity to sample exotic flavors.
Flavors: Horchata, plantain, matcha, maple
On the market: Hey Boo Vietnamese Coffee and Thai Iced Tea coconut caramels, Simply Gum Maple gum, Sencha Naturals Moroccan Mint Green Tea mints, Little Red Dot Bak Kwa meat snacks
American classic comfort foods and regional recipes are ripe for reinvention, said Ms. Heinz.
“American roots run deep, and we’re seeing a lot of nostalgia popping up again,” Ms. Heinz said. “We’ve seen the resurgence of potpies and casseroles on restaurant menus, but they’re being reinvented with more callout ingredients, maybe fresh herbs, or taking those blueberry pies that Grandma used to make, but using a huckleberry flavor instead of a blueberry flavor to reinvent that old classic.”
Flavors: Brown butter, huckleberry, maple, molasses, rhubarb, watermelon, cape gooseberry
On the market: Three Jerks Filet Mignon Maple Bourbon Churro beef jerky, Lillie’s Q Pimiento Cheese kettle chips, Idaho Candy Co. Huckleberry Gems chocolates FBN