Kerry is predicting that flavors inspired by legacy recipes, across generations of tradition globally, will drive food and beverage innovation in 2023. These insights are contained in the company’s annual Taste and Nutrition Charts, providing an in-depth analysis of flavors, ingredients and nutrition trends shaping innovation in the coming year. 

The report finds that taste remains the top driver when it comes to food and beverage choices and in the coming year consumers will be motivated by simplicity, sustainability and meeting their nutrition goals. Nonetheless, there will be a rise in unconventional flavor pairings and trends driven by lost traditions, simplicity and comfort.

Top insights for flavor innovation in 2023 include:

  • There will be a resurgence in age-old cooking practices and traditional recipes as consumers place more importance on tradition and provenance. Ingredients such as apple cider vinegar, ashwagandha and mushrooms are finding a new home across snack and beverage applications.
  • Indulgence will take on a new meaning, with younger consumers in particular seeking mashups of familiar food and drinks that they grew up with combined with emerging new flavor tonalities. This trend is augmented by the influence of social media channels such as TikTok and Instagram.
  • There will be a hunger for unconventional combinations of traditional ingredients and emerging taste profiles from other regions, such as cloves, Herbs de Provence, saffron, fig, ube, dill and a thirst for healthier beverages with functional ingredients such as ashwagandha.
  • In addition, consumers will be seeking value in 2023 as inflation hits home, but they will still gravitate toward products that allow permissible indulgence, still seeking simple flavors like cheddar cheese and caramel across nostalgic favorites like cookies and salty snacks.

In North America, flavor trends are driven by regional classics such as North Carolina’s spicy barbecue and Tex Mex. There’s a resurgence of basic flavors featured in past years’ charts as well as never-before-seen additions such as fig, ube and wasabi.

Commenting on these taste trends, Soumya Nair, global consumer research and insights director at Kerry, says: “Flavors have a powerful way to convey a story—particularly when it comes to consumer trends and preferences. This year we will witness the resurgence of time-honored traditions and heirloom recipes as consumers crave traditional tastes with new and emerging flavors. Comfort still reigns supreme—with peppermints, hazelnuts, chocolates, cheeses, chilies still dominating tastebuds. Whether a nostalgic treat, a comfort dish or a healthy alternative consumers expect a greater variety of tastes in 2023.”

“Through our in-depth research and insights from our teams across the globe, we are seeing how trends are travelling the world— with Asian flavors such as cardamom, Japanese miso, gooseberry and hawthorn reaching Europe and North America while popular dishes in Europe such as Moroccan tahini and Italian bolognaise inspiring innovation in Asia Pacific. Consumers are travelling the world through taste and we expect that interest and desire in authenticity to continue.”