Flavour fusion of East meets West leads the way with ofi’s latest AI-enhanced research
AI-generated research has led ingredients specialist ofi to deliver latest insights anticipating a greater fusion of flavours across product categories including confectionery, bakery and snacks markets around the world, writes Neill Barston.
As the business noted, its latest research sought to identify major regional trends, with particular reference to tracking flavour potential within the cocoa sector in a bid to keep one step ahead of a fast-evolving segment.
The research – which used predictive analytics to scan online recipes, restaurant menus and e-commerce sites for budding trends before they hit the mainstream – found Asian tastes like dragon fruit, sesame, yuzu, lychee and matcha are taking off in the US and Europe, while Western flavors like butterscotch, marshmallow, salted caramel and cookies & cream are becoming more popular in South Asian countries, including Indonesia and India. ofi’s ingredients innovation experts have turned these trends into adventurous cocoa pairings and dishes we could see on menus or in stores soon.
Edward Norder, Head of EMENA Innovation, ofi, commented: “Increasing globalisation means flavour trends are crossing borders faster than ever. And thanks to social media, a local craze can turn into a worldwide phenomenon overnight. This is a big opportunity for food and beverage companies to get ahead, but first they need to be able to pair the right flavors and translate emerging trends into great-tasting products in the development kitchen.
“That’s why we have created new cocoa pairings and innovative concepts inspired by this ‘East meets West’ trend. From chocolate-coated dragon fruit ice cream and a yuzu-infused chocolate panna cotta for the US, to a chipotle chili, lime and passionfruit dessert for Germany, and a black forest and cocoa flavored frappe-style drink for Indonesia.
“Choosing the right cocoa powder is a powerful tool for helping manufacturers win on taste. So, we hope what we’re sharing today will inspire our customers to look again at cocoa as a pairing for fresh, on-trend flavour combinations and applications that will surprise and delight consumers around the globe. Thanks to our network of Customer Solutions Centres, we’re well placed to support customers with ingredients that can be sustainable and traceable, and to test whether these new concepts can be commercialised at scale.”
Significantly, the business developed a regional flavour breakdown – for Europe, key favourites included Dragon Fruit – starting to trend in the UK in bakery. The punchy flavor pairs perfectly with deZaan’s N11N cocoa powder in pastries or N21N cocoa powder in ice cream or sorbet. Then Sesame – becoming popular in bakery in France, this flavor pairs excellently with deZaan’s D11S – a deep intense cocoa flavor – in a chocolate banana brioche.
Finally, Chilli – emerging particularly in German confectionery, particular in a chocolate bar. It also works with deZaan’s TrueDark – a rich natural cocoa powder with notes of nuts and fruits – in a chipotle chili, lime and passionfruit dessert.
Within the US Lychee was found to be growing in popularity in the bakery category, it pairs well with deZaan’s D23A cocoa powder – a full chocolatey taste and creamy texture – in a rich pastry filling. In addition, Yuzu – also booming in the bakery space, this works excellently with deZaan’s N11N – a well-rounded cocoa powder with delicate fruity notes – in a panna cotta. Thirdly, Miso – emerging in confectionery, this pairs with deZaan’s Rich Terracotta, with notes of chocolate, nuts and caramel, in chocolate fudge.
For the Asian market, prominent flavours include Marshmallow – on the rise in confectionery in Indonesia. This flavour reportedly pairs well with deZaan’s 254DP11 – a premium cocoa powder with an intense cocoa taste in a nougat or in a S’mores-style breakfast cereal. Finally, Cookies and Cream – an emerging trend in India in confectionery, this classic sweet flavour combination is the perfect match for deZaan’s H910N, in ice cream, confectionery and frappes.