Extreme and Edgy Flavors: Culinary Trend Mapping Report

Whether it’s Third-Degree Burn Doritos or lamb cooked with orange blossom and black pepper ice cream, consumers around the globe are thrilling to new, bigger, bolder flavors and unique flavor combinations. It’s an exciting sign-of-the times that so many consumers are open to exploring new tastes, and even to mixing them up themselves.

In short, consumers are continuing their voyage down the path of gastronomic sophistication. They understand the principles of umami better, are savoring peak-of-ripeness fruit from the farmers market and are consuming more spices.

Along with this sophistication comes a keen interest among some for hotter heat, more explosive mustard and similar eating experiences that really bring on the sweat. But aromatic heat from chiles and blasts from horseradish aren’t the only extreme flavors; we also see extreme sour candy and extremely bitter beer, not to mention achingly sweet desserts. Our palate is being pushed in all kinds of sweet, salty, sour and bitter directions, even as whole new flavors tempt us from the edge of the culinary ingredient spectrum.

Extreme and Edgy Flavors: Culinary Trend Mapping Report focuses on extreme and edgy flavors, whether emerging or well-rooted, that are appearing across the Trend Map. They come from:

  • nature (Douglas Fir, Sea Buckthorn)
  • global cuisines (Yuzu, Tamarind, Chocolate & Chile, Wasabi)
  • and from history (Cocktail Bitters and Amari)

• • • • •

The Culinary Trend Mapping Report is an indispensable tool for those whose job it is to stay abreast of what's hot—and what will be—in the food world.

The reports leverage the Center for Culinary Development’s (CCD) signature Trend Mapping technique, a validated method for identifying which culinary trends are gaining traction and which are simply flashes in the pan.

Each 65+ page journal is packed with trends, data, strategies and insights on the food industry that simply aren't available anywhere else.

Each Issue of the Culinary Trends Mapping Report

  • Identifies the maturity level of foods and ingredients according to CCD’s unique, proprietary 5-stage trend mapping process.
  • Concentrates on a theme that is affecting the food industry, and then looks at the emerging and established trends along the Trend Map that are shaping this theme.
  • Delves into these trends and what they mean for you and the manufacturing, retailing, and foodservice industries.
  • Gives strategic insight into how consumers are thinking of and reacting to new foods and ingredients.
  • Provides business know-how regarding opportunities, challenges, and ways to implement current trends into foodservice, retail, and packaged goods operations.
  • Presents a feature interview with a member chef from CCD’s exclusive 80+ member Chefs’ Council who offers expert analysis and unique perspective on a specific trend.
Trend Mapping

Trend Mapping is guided by the premise that major food trends pass through five distinct stages on their way to the mainstream:

  • Stage 1: The ingredient, dish and/or cooking technique appears at upscale dining establishments, ethnic and popular independent restaurants.
  • Stage 2: The item is featured in specialty consumer-oriented food magazines such as Bon Appetit plus retail stores such as Sur La Table that target culinary professionals and serious home cooks.
  • Stage 3: The item begins to appear in mainstream chain restaurants—Applebee's or Chili's—as well as retail stores such as Williams-Sonoma that target recreational cooks.
  • Stage 4: Publications such as Family Circle and Better Homes and Gardens pick up the buzz.
  • Stage 5: Finally, the trend makes its way to quick service restaurant menus and either starts to appear or gains increased mainstream presence on grocery store shelves.

Published every other month, the Culinary Trend Mapping Report is available for purchase as a single issue or a six-issue subscription.

In the News

New Extreme & Edgy Food Flavors Come from the Wild, Global Cuisine and the Past

New York, March 23, 2011 — Today’s consumers continue down the path of gastronomic adventure in their pursuit of hotter heat, tangier sours and edgier flavor combinations. Bigger, bolder and more unusual flavors are increasingly available from a variety of new sources, according to the Extreme & Edgy Flavors: Culinary Trend Mapping Report from the Center for Culinary Development (CCD) and leading market research publisher Packaged Facts. For food and beverage product developers striving to stay ahead of the curve, these flavors deliver exciting new sensory experiences on top of culinary adventure and, in some cases, wellness benefits.

“Consumers around the globe are thrilling to new, bigger, bolder flavors and unique flavor combinations,” says Kimberly Egan, CEO of CCD. “Our palates are being pushed in all kinds of sweet, salty, sour and bitter directions, while new flavors tempt us from the edge of the culinary ingredient spectrum.”

Using CCD’s proprietary five-stage Trend Map®, the report profiles seven emerging and accepted flavors that are transporting consumers to new flavor places. They come from three primary sources:

  • From the Wild: Fine-dining chefs are playing with two new ingredients found in forests and along water banks.
    • Aromatic Douglas Fir tips are adding delicate, citrusy and woodsy flavor to meats, sauces, cocktails and desserts.
    • Sea Buckthorn, a noted superfruit and common ingredient in Chinese medicine, provides a tangy punch and bright orange color to sauces, cocktails and beverages.
  • From Global Cuisine: Foreign ingredients are finding their way to more places across the U.S. food landscape, bringing their extreme and edgy flavors with them.
    • Exotic Japanese Yuzu, a variety of lime, has a distinctive floral, tart flavor that chefs and mixologists are applying to Japanese and other fine dining cuisines as well as cocktails, marinades and sauces.
    • Puckery Tamarind, found in Latin, Indian and Southeast Asian foods like Pad Thai, hides out in many common condiments but is being used more openly in chutneys, simmer sauces and beverages.
    • Chocolate and Chile, an age-old combination in Latin America, has moved up the Trend Map® and is now appearing in brownie mixes, women’s magazine recipes and popular lines of chocolate bars, adding warming heat to beloved chocolate.
    • Wasabi has become mainstream, evolving from a sushi accompaniment to being a full-fledged flavor profile for snacks, condiments and more.
  • From the Past: Bitter flavors have traditionally dominated in medicinal foods due to barks, roots and herbs used to heal. These same ingredients flavor Cocktail Bitters, Italian Amari aperitif spirits and Bitter Beers, all popular today in bar and cocktail culture, and a sign of consumers accepting bitter flavors more easily.

Whether food product developer, food manufacturer or restaurant operator, flavor is always in the forefront. This report offers fresh and forward flavor ideas for meats, snacks, beverages, condiments, confections and more.

About the Center for Culinary Development CCD is a full-service food and beverage strategic innovation company that successfully blends culinary creativity with consumer insights, trends and marketing expertise.

About Packaged Facts— Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer goods and retailing, foods and beverages, demographics, pet products and services, and financial products. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services.

Executive Overview
Why Extreme & Edgy Flavors?
- Kimberly Egan
Executive Summary

Trend Summary
Stage 1 - Douglas Fir
- Sea Buckthorn
Stage 2 - Yuzu
- Bitter Brews
Stage 3 - Tamarind
Stage 4 - Chocolate & Chile
Stage 5 - Wasabi

Chef Speak: CCD Chefs’ Council® Voices
H. Joseph Ehrmann: Raising the Bar on Flavor

Strategic Implications
Opportunities for Extreme & Edgy Flavors

Source List

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