As the new year settles into its stride, the emerging flavour trends for 2017 start to take shape and we can make more confident predictions about what will be tickling people’s palates between now and Christmas.
There are several trends at present that seem likely to stick around for several months to come, and as usual these are a combination of old favourite flavours, and new exotic tastes that people seem ready to try.
Looking at the classics first, floral flavours are very much on trend for 2017, and manufacturers have been ahead of the curve on this one with aromas like orange blossom being embraced throughout 2016 as well.
Berries and florals like lavender and hibiscus combine to provide fully rounded fragrances that are likely to remain crowd pleasers for the duration of this year.
Childhood comfort tastes like marshmallow are also predicted to be in demand among consumers seeking familiarity in uncertain times, which in itself is a specific trend to keep under close scrutiny in the current political and economic landscape.
But consumers remain adventurous too, and flavours associated with Eastern spices are penetrating some much less obvious recipes, such as porridge and rice pudding.
Spices like cinnamon are nothing new here, of course, but the emerging trend could see more complex recipes hit the market, as well as balancing sweet flavours from Eastern staples like mango.
From the West, smoky flavours are adding similar complexity to a broad range of different products, including chewing gum and even beer.
Again there is a comfort aspect to this, as many people associate the flavour with the social occasion of a barbecue or bonfire surrounded by family and friends, but it also represents an adventurous evolution of the particular recipes in which it is included.
In restaurants, look to the condiments for some of the most concrete emerging trends, and in particular the creation of house recipes for mayonnaise and mustard dressings.
House mayo, relish and slaw are nothing new in American-themed burger bars, while luxury restaurants are likely to make their own sauces too, but for 2017 there is a firm focus on introducing new tastes to the basic recipes.
Perhaps most surprising of all though is the future direction of children’s menus, as many restaurants are becoming more adventurous here too, and children now often find they have the option of more ethnic and spicy foods than in the past – with an increase in gourmet kids’ options also on the cards over the coming year.