Q&A: Flavors without Borders: Connecting Global Consumers through Taste

August 2023

As the world becomes more connected, our shopping habits start to shift. We are learning about new cultures, foods, and traditions, and the interest in experiencing those tastes first-hand is clearly beginning to rise. Already, upwards of 20% of all new product launches since 2018 have been inspired by international flavors1. Brands must discover how to harness international tastes in new, innovative ways to excite their audience and our team of experts are here to help.

We spoke with Julie Casagrande, Senior Commercialization Manager – Americas, and Echo Yang, Head of R&D Business Development – APAC, to get a better understanding for how global flavors can influence food and beverage innovations back at home.

Q: In your region specifically, what are some of the trending culturally inspired flavors? Are they influencing global flavor innovations?

Julie: I’m seeing an explosion of the chili lime flavor trend. It’s taken over a wide variety of snacking products – including seaweed! Whether partnering with popular spicy snack brands for a co-branded flavor experience, or using private label seasonings, snack producers across the globe are tipping their hats to Latin American culture.

Echo: Exactly! Global consumers are raving over bold, spicy tastes, like chili lime. In general, we’re seeing a rise in interest in ingredients that tingle one’s taste buds – which could come from traditional spices or even something like ginger. Brands are seeing this popularity spike and innovating it into teas, seed mixes, and even as a topping for fruits.

Q: As a food manufacturer, what are the market opportunities to develop exciting, globally influenced flavors? What are some of the most popular products?

Julie: Snacks are accessible options to help people discover new tastes without committing to a full meal of unknown flavors, which can be scary. Because of the variety of snack selections, formulators have endless opportunities for incorporating a range of new choices onto local store shelves, such as seaweed, sunflower seeds, chips, crackers, and more.

Echo: I agree, snacks are the ideal opportunity for brands to test out their new flavors. On top of that, it makes the spicy, more intimidating flavor profiles approachable for those who might not do well with intense heat. By seasoning popular snacks with a “wow” factor surprise, you can help customers expand their palette one chip, pretzel, or popped kernel at a time.

Q: How can a formulator account for various other industry trends when creating a globally influenced food or beverage? Can the trends be combined?

Echo: When looking to test out something new, it’s not a bad thing to go the safe route and lean into other trends, such as clean label or plant based. We know that consumers are enjoying these trends, so why not use them to our advantage? This way, people can feel comfortable trying unknown flavors because it’s not all new, there’s a familiarity and trust they can count on.

Julie: On the flip side, brands looking to shake up the industry can get creative with fusion foods. Fusion foods are a growing trend and harnessing that can introduce impactful flavors of cuisines from Greece to Chile and everywhere in-between. Instead of only relying on one new flavor to grab their attention, you can mix-and-match countless combinations of bold, tantalizing twists. Imagine the fun your innovators will have!

Q: Are there any challenges brands run into when developing a globally influenced product? If so, how can it be overcome?

Julie: Just as quickly as trends rise, they can quickly fall out of consumer interest. Because of this, I think the main risk would be not understanding how quickly you need to go to market once you’ve got a flavor worth featuring. Since not all will be a long-term trend, brands should tap into the limited time offerings market to create hype around a product that won’t always be available. It’s a great way to test something new without overextending your operations and marketing budget on something that might not be what you expect.

Echo: Depending on location, regulations, and a myriad of other factors, sourcing can pose a challenge for brands developing these influenced offerings. Brands will need to have access to the ingredients to create the sought-after flavors, many of which may not be naturally available in all regions. To overcome this, brands can source ingredients with an extended shelf life and greater availability, such as freeze-dried fruits and vegetables.

Q: How does working with Chaucer and its ingredients help brands remain relevant and competitive?

Echo: As I mentioned, freeze-dried ingredients offer more flexibility and versatility. Our ingredient portfolio at Chaucer gives our partners many different forms and types to create the exact flavor their audience wants. In addition, we can involve them in the product development process and help extend product license ranges, if needed.

Julie: From the consumer perspective, our ingredients meet their needs for natural flavor alternatives, so brands can limit the amount of artificial ingredients used. As a result of the reputation and positive association that natural fruits and vegetables have, shoppers are more inclined to reach for the product using the ingredients they trust. At Chaucer, our ingredients provide the reliability and trust consumers look for, while still giving your team the ability to develop something new and exciting.

If you would like to learn more about how globally influenced flavors impact product innovation or want to know what to expect from future flavor experiences, contact us at customer.services@chaucerfoods.com and connect with our team.

1 – “Consumers Want to Travel Through Their Taste Buds: Kerry’s 2023 Taste and Nutrition Charts,” Food Industry Executive. 2023. 


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