Familiar tastes and nostalgic flavours will become the biggest food trend this year as consumers continue to lend themselves to treating during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to ingredients company Kerry Taste and Nutrition’s annual Taste Charts for 2021.

The report found that a trend towards familiar and nostalgic tastes, which resurged during the pandemic, is anticipated to continue over the coming year as people seek comfort from their food.

According to Kerry, consumers are gravitating toward comforting and familiar tastes, with classic desserts such as banana split, apple pie and custard.

European trends

In Europe, restrictions on movement in 2020 have led to consumers travelling the world through food. This is reflected in the Taste Charts, with a rise in Korean, Indian, Thai, Greek and Spanish cuisine. Trends around health and wellbeing continues to gather pace among consumers, while sustainable sourcing is also growing in importance.

Christina Matrozou, Kerry’s marketing manager for taste in Europe, commented: “2020 has been a year like no other. During the lockdown period, consumers stayed connected online and continued to share the food that excited them, augmenting the need for playful textures and exciting flavours.

“Fermentation emerged across several product categories, with vinegar and pickled becoming a top trend and flavour note. The traditional citrus, vanilla, chocolate and BBQ flavours will remain relevant in 2021, but consumers expect these tastes through flavours that are more sustainable or have provenance claims. Meanwhile, botanicals such as lavender, turmeric and basil can meet consumer needs across food and beverage products that support the quest for holistic wellbeing.”

The Taste Charts utilises consumer purchase patterns, retail product performance and foodservice influences to predict tastes for the coming year. Matrozou added: “The Taste Charts supports manufacturers by providing an expert overview of key, mainstream, up-and-coming and emerging flavours and ingredients across categories. This helps accelerate new product development times by making it easier to select flavours during the brainstorm and development phase. Kerry’s customers can harness these trends in a really exciting way, with plenty of room to innovate and create products that will resonate with consumers.”