BELOIT, WIS. — Roots and origins, a 2023 taste trend identified by the Kerry Group, may interest nostalgic consumers as well as adventurous consumers, said Soumya Nair, global lead of insights business for Kerry.

The trend may mean consumers are seeking ingredients and cooking practices that are long-forgotten traditions in their cultural past or may mean consumers are seeking flavors related to the roots and origins of other cultures, she said in a Jan. 31 webinar.

"This human desire to travel through their taste buds is really strong, and that’s where we see these roots and origins becoming a significant trend,” Nair said.

Kerry listed seven trends in its annual taste and nutrition charts. They were roots and origins, maximizing taste, purpose-driven taste, joy in simple things, hint of health, off the reel, and mix and mingle.

The roots-and-origins trend refers to a resurgence in traditional cooking practices and recipes as consumers place more importance on tradition and provenance, according to Kerry. Ingredients such as apple cider vinegar, ashwagandha and mushrooms are appearing in snack and beverage applications.

Nair said consumers in Thailand may seek old, traditional recipes with fish sauce while consumers in the United Kingdom may seek recipes with Worcestershire sauce. Adventurous consumers in Australia, meanwhile, have shown interest in harissa and gochujang, which are not traditional Australian flavors.

“You see flavors from across the globe with those strong provenance stories coming through,” Nair said.

In the maximizing taste trend, consumers expect healthy, nutritious and sustainable alternatives to deliver the same taste experience and flavor intensity as mainstream foods and beverages. Purpose-driven taste refers to consumers being guided by their sustainability consciousness.

Consumers will seek joy in simple flavors during a recessionary environment as they want nostalgia, comfort and familiarity. A hint of health refers to functionally forward flavors that convey a health halo.

Social media, a key element in off the reel, has influenced food and beverage trends. New recipes  and food and beverage creations with abundant inclusions and toppings like glitters and sprinkles have attracted consumer curiosity.

Mix and mingle includes mashups of familiar foods and drinks and unconventional flavor pairings. Younger consumers especially seek mashups of foods and drinks they grew up with combined with new flavor tonalities, according to Kerry. Nair gave examples of fruitcake-flavored Mountain Dew and ghost pepper latte.

Kerry divided flavors into four phases of adoption. Mainstream signified the top 10 flavors over the past five years. The next 15 flavors for the past five years were the second phase. Up-and-coming, the third phase, were the top 20 fastest-growing flavors in the past three years. Emerging flavors, the final phase, were those that had grown the fastest within the past year.

Flavors, depending on the global area, could be in different phases. Kerry listed Romano and blue cheese as up-and-coming flavors in the United States. In Mexico, queso cheddar is an up-and-coming flavor. Other up-and-coming cheese flavors are parmigiano Reggiano and pecorino in Australia, Emmental and Gouda in Europe, and mozzarella in Asia Pacific.

“Something as simple as cheese manifests so differently across the regions,” Nair said.

She said sriracha continues to increase in use and expand into different categories.

“In 2011 is when sriracha really blew up across the world, not just as a condiment, but it started getting into foodservice menus,” she said. “Experimental chefs were trying it out as an ingredient.”

Mainstream consumers who are not as adventurous may be willing to try sriracha and coriander or sriracha and nacho cheese, Nair said. More adventurous consumers may show interest in sriracha with pineapple or horseradish. Sriracha is being used as a seasoning on popcorn, shrimp coatings and chicken tenders.

“Gosh, sriracha is no longer just a condiment,” Nair said. “That red and green bottle is very special.”