Broadening Our Taste Buds, One Ingredient at a Time5 Nov 2013
Our taste buds are programmed to favour and reject certain tastes almost instinctively. Sweet tastes are well-accepted, as traditionally they indicate a natural and safe source of energy – whereas bitter tastes tend to warn against toxic foods, and sour tastes can act as a warning for spoiled food. However, consumers’ palates are becoming more accepting […]
Our taste buds are programmed to favour and reject certain tastes almost instinctively. Sweet tastes are well-accepted, as traditionally they indicate a natural and safe source of energy – whereas bitter tastes tend to warn against toxic foods, and sour tastes can act as a warning for spoiled food. However, consumers’ palates are becoming more accepting of a range of flavours, including both bitter and sour tastes. One of the motivating factors bringing about this change can be put down to the dispersion of ethnic cuisine, with foods and flavours spreading across the globe. As a result, consumers have become more willing to experiment with new cuisines: over two-fifths of UK consumers look out for new and interesting ethnic foods when selecting ethnic products, while the bulk – 84% – of US consumers are open to trying new flavours when ordering at a restaurant. This has spurred the popularity of spicy and hot flavours and ingredients, with more consumers claiming to enjoy spicier and hotter flavours. In fact, over half of US consumers say that spicy food has more appeal now compared to when they were younger and a third of UK adults claim they are eating more spicy food now than they were a few years ago.
Sourness is the sensation evoked by acidic substances and is one of the strongest taste sensations, alongside bitterness, which is a strong, sharp, un-sweet taste found in substances having a basic pH. Straight off the back of hot and spicy flavours, tart or sour flavours and ingredients are progressively popping up as a flavour component or ingredient in food and drink products. A prime example of this is Greek yoghurt, a sour, tart tasting food which has risen sharply in popularity over the past few years. The growth of Greek yoghurt is evidenced by almost half of all new product launches over the past five years occurring in 2012. The sudden popularity of Greek yoghurt is primarily down to its taste, cited by almost three-fifths of US consumers as a driver for purchasing Greek yoghurt. People enjoy its tangy, sour taste, along with its creamy texture. The use of sour, tart fruits including lemons, pomegranates, cranberries, wolfberries, goji berries, and red dates is also becoming increasingly popular in food and drinks. This is partially due to their purported health benefits, but also their tartness adds a ‘punchy’ kick of flavour, creating appealing flavour combinations. The spread and influence of Eastern cuisine plays a large role in the increasing popularity of some key ‘tart’ ingredients, from exotic fruits to pickled vegetables and kombucha, a tart fermented tea.
The use of sour or tart ingredients across a range of products will also appeal to consumers concerned with their sugar intake. Almost a quarter of US consumers say they are using less sugar than they did a year ago, while a quarter of UK consumers find cereal bars, for example, too high in sugar. The healthier image of sour ingredients and flavours is partly linked to what they aren’t, and the fact they are the opposite of sweet. Bigger, bolder flavours will not only help satisfy consumers’ more adventurous tastes but will also help create more interesting savoury flavour combinations appealing to consumers trying to limit their sugar intake.
What role do omega-3s play in sports nutrition?
10 Jul 2018
Omega-3 fatty acids have increasingly become part of athletes’ nutritional regime over the past few years but research supporting their role in sports nutrition is still in its early stages.Read more
Could nature-identical ingredients damage the natural sweeteners market?
4 Jul 2018
Natural sweeteners are a major target for companies looking to make nature-identical food ingredients, but if they are produced in a lab rather than extracted from a plant, will consumers accept them as natural?Read more
How does honey compare to sugar?
27 Jun 2018
Sugar use is down and honey use is up as manufacturers look for natural sweetening alternatives – but does honey live up to the hype?Read more
Fruit and vegetable powders add clean label nutrition, colour and flavour
25 Jun 2018
Fruit and vegetable powders are appearing in a range of foods and drinks to improve their flavour, colour, nutrition and texture, driven by the trend toward whole foods and consumer desire to boost fruit and vegetable consumption.Read more
What are the smartest botanical ingredients for brain health?
20 Jun 2018
As the population ages, botanical ingredients to maintain and improve cognitive health are on the rise. What are they, and what evidence is there to support their claims?Read more
Turning a spotlight on healthy fats and oils
19 Jun 2018
European food manufacturers have been turning to healthier oils and fats – but there is often a trade-off to be made, balancing their benefits in terms of flavour and health with how easy they are to work with.Read more
Beyond ingredients: Food processing as a tool for cleaner labels
12 Jun 2018
Ingredients come first when companies think about developing clean label foods and drinks, but certain processing technologies also should be considered part of the clean label toolbox.Read more
Plant-based eating boosts European walnut demand
12 Jun 2018
The current trend toward plant-based diets and wholesome, natural ingredients has led to increased European demand for walnuts, as consumers have become more aware of their health benefits.Read more
Europeans embrace a new wave of seaweed ingredients
6 Jun 2018
Seaweed ingredients are on the rise, set to appear in a wide range of new products in Europe in the coming years – far beyond the traditional sushi and miso soup.Read more
How clean label ingredients affect packaging
28 May 2018
When companies consider ‘cleaning up’ their product labels, they often focus primarily on how to remove or replace certain ingredients – but they should also consider implications for product packaging.Read more
Are you a supplier
Here's what we can do for you
- Generate quality leads for your business
- Stay visible for 365 days of the year
- Receive product inquiries and respond to meeting requests directly
- Improve company online presence through Search Engine Optimisation