CERRITOS, CALIF.  — Ube has been identified as the leading flavor of 2024 by T. Hasegawa USA Inc. Ube is a bright purple tuberous root vegetable from the Philippines. It may be used in such applications as mashed potatoes, gnocchi, sauces for desserts, baked foods and beverages.

While Ube was named flavor of the year by T. Hasegawa, the company also identified several trends to watch for in the coming year.

Consumers, for example, may be seeking more comfort foods in 2024 as they seek a sense of nostalgia and familiarity.

T. Hasegawa also sees women taking the lead in food and beverage consumerism in 2024 and setting new standards for quality and innovation. “Girl dinners” was seen trending in 2023 and may have an impact on 2024, according to Yelp users. “Girl dinners” is a food grazing trend where women do not want to cook a full meal.

“Glocal adventures” looks at how the fusion of global and local culinary elements will bring global cuisine closer to home. European cuisine also is becoming popular for 2024, according to Datassential’s FoodBytes report. While the market for European meals stagnated somewhat amid demand for Mexican and Asian dishes, Datassential predicts consumers will begin to crave fresh twists on the foods they encounter during post-pandemic vacations abroad.

Health and wellness also have gained traction in consumers food and beverage choices throughout the recent years. “Healthy aging through precise nutrition” may have consumers leading to more tailored dietary choices to promote vitality and longevity, according to T. Hasegawa. Trends that may reshape the food and beverage industry in 2024 focus on ingredients that offer health-conscious choices, affordability and nutrition quality, T. Hasegawa said.

Consumers may be reaching for the extraordinary in 2024, according to T. Hasegawa. Consumers may be searching for the exotic and earthy flavors that transport them to far-off places with “exotic and earthy plates.”

“It is quality rather than quantity that matters,” is a quote coined by Lucius Annaeus Seneca that seemingly fits with T. Hasegawa’s “quality matters” trend for 2024. The flavor company said elevating the quality of ingredients will add depth to products without complicating consumer desires. Consumers’ focus will be on creating rich, satisfying tastes while keeping the process simple.

“While specific flavors, spices and ingredients are always a key part of our trends analysis, we also look to identify broader shifts in consumer habits since they impact everything from restaurant menus and foodservice to CPG products,” said Dough Resh, director of commercial marketing at T. Hasegawa USA. “The overarching theme is that consumers are seeking heightened culinary experiences, across every category in the industry.”