The fortune of global flavour – McCormick Foods

31 July 2014

Marking its 125th year as a flavour innovator, McCormick Foods has again looked at flavour trends on a global level. Sheila Eggleston flags up what’s in store for the coming year.

McCormick Foods spent the whole of 2013 searching for the flavour trends that will make an impact in 2014 and showcased them in its annual 'Flavour Forecast', first created in 2000.

As a global flavour leader, particularly specialising in spices, herbs, seasoning mixes and condiments, McCormick has put the spotlight on what and how the world eats.

Its belief is that the way people experience and enjoy flavour connects them to each other and to cultures around the world.

Therefore, in its anniversary edition, it identifies the insights and ingredients on the rise that will drive the future of flavour.

Created by the company's global team of experts that includes chefs, culinary professionals, trend trackers, food technologists and sensory scientists, the report reveals the flavours, cuisines and techniques that will inspire creative innovations for years to come.

McCormick has come up with five key flavour insights for 2014: chilli obsession, modern masala, clever compact cooking, Mexican world tour and charmed by Brazil. It believes these areas reflect emerging trends and key cultural influences that are shaping the tastes of tomorrow, and tell an exciting story about how people everywhere are coming together for more diverse, colourful and flavourful meals than ever before.

The report says the 'chilli obsession' has extended beyond just new varieties and now emcompasses alternate techniques such as grilling, smoking, pickling, fermenting and candying to bring out flavour potential. Global sensory scientist Silvia King says chillies are feel-good food and that the tongue-tingling sensations prompts warm, positive emotions.

'Modern masala' highlights the fact that Indian food is finally having its global moment. Already familiar with basic curries, people around the world are taking their appreciation for this rich cuisine to the next level and exploring more flavours in new contexts, from food trucks and stalls to fine dining.

Steve Love, McCormick's senior development chef in the UK, says: "Indian cooking is influencing a wide range of dishes, restaurants and TV cooking shows. In the UK and South Africa - where Indian fast-casual is as common as pizza - we're seeing local favourites taking on modern twists. This can be as simple as adding a blend of masala to marinate venison. Meanwhile, people in the US are exploring Indian flavour profiles in everyday fare such as salads and sandwiches."

According to McCormick, 'clever compact cooking' means big flavour coming from small spaces. With the growth of more efficient, compact kitchens, people are discovering creative ways to prepare meals by making the most of what's available.

"Less room to cook just requires a little more creativity," says Michelle Thrift, McCormick's senior home economist for culinary development in Australia.

"What is key is ingredients that work two or three times. Multipurpose appliances - from pressure cookers to cutting-edge, all-in-one tools that can grate, mix, chop, stir, steam and fry - are also helping people to create more flavourful meals in tiny kitchens."

Canadian chef Michael Cloutier adds that creative cooks are going way beyond the basics with cool new noodle dishes: "Noodles of all shapes and sizes, dried or fresh, are some of the most versatile ingredients - especially some of the great Asian, Italian and Eastern European varieties."

The 'Mexican world tour' trend flags up the growing taste for regional Mexican food and drink in North America as well as the beginning of its adoption in China, and that cultures across the world are embracing authentic elements of this bright, bold and casual cuisine.

US chef Kevan Vetter says that, as awareness for Mexican food evolves globally, people are eager to discover authentic, local flavours.

"In the US, long-term fans of this cuisine are looking to new regional inspirations, from the bold recados [seasoning pastes] of the Yucatán Peninsula to the complex moles [sauces] of Oaxaca," he says.

The 'charmed by Brazil' insight highlights the potential of this country's vibrant flavours and traditions as a dynamic melting-pot culture that includes European, African, Asian and native Amazonian influences. Brazilian tastes are poised to powerfully affect cooking around the globe.

"Like its people, Brazilian cuisine is a seductive mix of global and native influences," says Anthony Palmer, head of innovation for EMEA at McCormick.

"The world's attraction to Brazil is really heating up - we're going to discover just how exciting some of those ingredients and flavours can be."

Flavour insights

Chilli obsession - chillies to watch out for
mild Mexican dried chilli.
Tien Tsin: hot Szechuan chilli.
Aji Amarillo: hot Peruvian yellow chilli.
Chilli de Arbol: bold Mexican chilli.

Modern masala - mixing it up
Paneer cheese:
versatile, mild fresh cheese.
Kashmiri masala: northern Indian spice blend with cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves and ginger.
Jalfrezi: a stir-fry-style curry dish.

Clever compact cooking - must-have ingredients
naturally wholesome and can be used as a spice rub, marinade or as a cooking liquid.
Noodles: multipurpose ingredient for soups, casseroles, stir-fries and salads.
Coriander: from seed to leaf, used in countless ways across the globe.

Mexican world tour - flavours to explore
tomato-like ingredient that imparts a bright, lemony flavour.
Recados: spice pastes popular in the Yucatan Peninsula. Recado rojo is made with achiote (annatto), sour orange and a blend of spices.
Chamoy sauce: condiment combining apricot, lime, chillies and spices.

Charmed by Brazil - ingredients on the rise
Cassava flour:
also known as manioc or tapioca flour; gluten-free.
Guava: tropical fruit, fresh or as nectar and paste.
Black-eyed peas: a favourite bean.
Tempero baiano: Bahian seasoning blend containing oregano, parsley, varieties of pepper and cumin.

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