Earlier this year, McCormick team members across five global regions connected with notable culinary experts to uncover the latest innovations in flavour. The research included a series of virtual, interactive at-home culinary experiences lead by chefs exploring a range of flavours from nutritious to indulgent that offer unique tastes, colours, and textures for both food and drinks.
Betty Juliana Tan, Vice President Flavour Solutions, McCormick SEA shares insights on food flavours and trends in Asia.
Against the current pandemic, what are the emerging food trends you see in Asia?
As a global leader in flavour, we have observed interesting food trends that have emerged in the last year across all regions with the pandemic as the leading impetus. These include increased home-cooking, more focus on food sustainability as well as prices, value for money, and healthy eating. Reliance on digital use is also on the rise with increased online purchases including food orders.
As more people cook at home, especially during the pandemic, we have noticed that herbs and spices are also increasing in popularity as home cooks explore more recipes and flavouring ingredients in their kitchens.
How do you see the Flavour Forecast relevance to South Asia?
The Flavour Forecast 21 (FF21) is an example of how we infuse incredible global flavours with a huge dose of innovation to delight tastebuds. Since the pandemic has expedited digital adoption, it seems the world is today even more global, so it makes it all the more relevant for us to constantly experiment with different tastes and flavours no matter where we are from. Furthermore, the four themes of FF21 are extremely appealing to the tastes of South Asia.
Plant Pushing Boundaries – The plant-based world is getting mainstream. India is one of the largest vegetarian populations in the world. In this theme, we look at how plants are being reimagined on plates to give colour, texture, satiety and even sweetness. There is much room for creativity to showcase what plants can do, providing excitement for Indian consumers.
Humble nosh – It’s truly about giving a flavoursome twist to everyday comfort classic. In a time when many Indians are seeking order and comfort in live, food delivers the nourishment we’re craving for. We seek familiar “nosh” that has the power to give us the “warm fuzzies” in each bite or sip.
Underwater, under discovered – There is just so much the deep blue sea has to offer. The South of India is close to the sea and there is so much unexplored flavour potential. Sea moss, seaweed, sea salt are just some of the big umami-forward flavours that creatively bring flavours from coast to the kitchen and retail stores such as pickles, noodles, soups and even spirits.
Physiological eating – Mindful eating and intentional ingredients are inspired by ancient approaches to health and wellness. Taking inspiration from Ayurvedic practice (which was featured in FF21), one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems developed more than 3,000 years ago, we look at the six tastes of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent and pungent which results in greater mind and body satisfaction.
What are the challenges McCormick face when appealing to South Asia consumers in terms of flavours? How do you counter that?
McCormick has a 130-year legacy in the world of flavours and in the last several decades, has established our footprint in the Asia Pacific region, including India. As the world’s second most populous country, India has a very diverse population and palate which can be quite challenging to grasp. With a mission to build “A World United by Flavour—where healthy, sustainable and delicious go hand in hand”, McCormick is focused on driving a consumer-led business by leveraging deep consumer insights from the ground to develop the taste that our customers all over the world have come to trust, and bring our passion for flavour to life. With this same approach, we have come to deliver some great flavours well-received by our consumers and customers in India, that is also synonymous with the McCormick brand.
Foodservice professionals and product developers alike can draw inspiration from the McCormick Flavour Forecast 21st Edition. To learn more, visit: www.flavorforecast.com.
Betty Juliana Tan, Vice President Flavour Solutions, McCormick