Food for Thought: Flavor Trends for 2023

Posted by Annette Bellisari on


Consumers will always want foods that reflect the familiar flavors they know and love, but at the same time, they continue to want to expand their palates with unique global fare. These days, consumers crave foods that challenge their taste buds at a more sophisticated level than ever before, including new levels of hot, spicy, sweet, and savory.

A broad range of food industry experts—including flavorists, chefs, trendspotters, futurists, entrepreneurs, and more— were asked what flavor trends they foresee for 2023 and beyond, and many of this year’s projections are directed toward consumers who are moving beyond the pandemic and are determined to take control of their health and enhance the health of the planet, all while allowing for comfort, self care, and indulgence. But even though taking control seems super desirable, consumers still want to be surprised at some levels also. Therefore, flavors that disregard expectations are sure to be a hit. For that reason, unexpected and unique flavor combinations will be in demand going into 2023.

The “What’s Hot” Culinary Forecast identified the top three global flavor trends in foodservice. These trends, sooner rather than later, will make their way into consumer packaged goods.

  • Southeast Asian cuisine, which encompasses the flavors of Vietnam, Singapore, and the Philippines. 
  • Caribbean cuisine, including the native flavors of Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic.
  • South American cuisine, such as those with origins in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. 

Consumers are obsessed with Asian cuisine. Korean, Indian, Vietnamese, and Thai food are seeing quite a bit of demand from consumers. Expect to see flavors inspired by these cuisines in everything from salty snacks and sauces to baked goods and frozen foods.

Fire-roasted flavors are trending, especially in meats and plant-based options. The flavors may be added to any cuisine through rubs, glazes, sauces, and marinades.

Consumers increasingly are looking for complex flavors and unexpected combinations. This mix and match flavor combination craze has resulted in what is being called the “Sweet Plus” trend. Perhaps the most familiar iteration of this trend is sweet plus heat—the combination of chili varietals with sweet ingredients to create a complex flavor sensation. Additionally, the sweet heat combination is showing up in everything from snacks to breakfast cereals. 

Fermented foods and the sour and umami flavors produced from them are a flavor trend set to make a huge impact in the coming year. Think kimchi, miso, beet kvass, pickles, beer, and kombucha. Fermented ties in squarely with Korean, the hottest ethnic cuisine around, and its use of tangy, spicy fermented vegetables. Fermented ingredients have seen rapid growth in both foodservice and retail, largely due to the perceived health benefits surrounding fermentation, along with a growing acceptance of sour flavors.

Experts see nostalgic flavors continuing to drive new product development. This desire for nostalgic foods is not new, but entering a post-pandemic world influences what people are nostalgic for, whether it’s the comfort foods of their childhood or the more recent memory of a sandwich from a favorite deli they haven’t visited in two years.

The trends identified here intersect with one another, speaking to consumers’ desire for both what is known and comfortable and what is new and exciting. We are in a historically unique time in that an economic downturn is happening at the same time that consumers have all this post-COVID pent-up demand for unique experiences and occasions. This is where Bellisari’s Gourmet Sauces and Spreads come in by being innovative, unique, and by providing exciting options that are also a good value — you’ll have a win/win with Bellisari’s in 2023.

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