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Manufacturers urged to get creative with food ingredients

By: Chris Williams
02 August, 2011

As consumer tastes become ever more sophisticated, the opportunity to innovate with ingredients is providing food manufacturers with a new point of difference over their more conservative competitors.

A heightened fascination with all things culinary has led to tastes and flavours like umami and harissa finding their way into the mainstream lexicon, and in turn into the ingredients lists of forward thinking food manufacturers.

Kimberly Egan, CEO of the Centre for Culinary Development (CCD) in the US, said interest in condiments had grown in recent times as more consumers look to customise the heat or flavour intensity of their food.

A new report from CCD, Condiments and Sauces: Culinary Trend Mapping, reveals that the interest in bigger flavours that condiments and sauces provide, will continue to drive the food market.

According to Egan, condiments and sauces are becoming an alluring way of attracting new business.

"Condiments and sauces are the fashion accessories of the culinary world, and today more than ever they are a necessary part of the ensemble as diners seek enhanced food experiences and more global flavours, especially in their home kitchens," Egan said.

The report profiles several hot trends in the condiments and sauces segment using CCD's trend mapping methodology, and offers strategic ideas for product development translation.

According to CCD the top six trends likely to shape the food research and development landscape over the coming year are the unlikely sounding poutine, gastrique, umami, romesco, sriracha, and aioli.

Poutine is a combination of hot potato chips, cheese curds and brown gravy, which according to CCD, can be produced in endless variations and is expected to be a big driver in the snackfood category.

Gastrique is a French reduction of sugar and vinegar, traditionally used in dishes with meat and fruit to balance out flavours. According to CCD, food manufacturers are now using gastriques with meat, fish and even dessert.

"There is a huge opportunity for manufacturers to produce bottled gastriques for both cooking and cocktails," CCD claimed.

While umami is already a staple in certain condiments such as tomato sauce, CCD said it was now coming into its own and was being called out by name in several new seasoning products.

"Now is the ideal time to develop products that call out and underscore the umami experience, one that more consumers are understanding all the time," Egan said.

Romesco,  a traditional red pepper and ground almond sauce from the Catalan region of Spain, is said to present a great opportunity for food manufacturers to capitalise on its Spanish global heritage and emphasise its intense rich flavour in dips, sauces, marinades and more.

Sriracha is a hot sauce inspired by traditional Southeast Asian cuisines, and according to CCD, consumers craving heat and spice are increasingly seeking it out.

"Gen Y interest in global cuisines and extreme flavours sets up sriracha for continued market growth and popularity, whether in new variations on the original condiment or sriracha enhanced products," CCD said in its report.

Aioli - the versatile French-inspired condiment, basically garlic mayonnaise, has infiltrated every pocket of the food industry. The ability to add a variety of non-garlic flavours (including lemon, basil, chipotle, parsley, harissa and avocado) while also delivering tasty, creamy richness drives home aioli's potential for new dips, spreads, condiments and accompaniments, Egan said.

For more information on "Condiments and Sauces: Culinary Trend Mapping Report" click here

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