Today’s consumers are a worldly group. Thanks to technology, our ability to connect with nearly every part of the globe is as easy as clicking a mouse. As a result, consumers can explore exotic cultures, customs and cuisines on a whim.
As evidenced by the continual success of cooking shows and food networks, as well as cooking classes and magazines, more people are taking an interest in cooking at home. The desire to recreate the flavors and recipes from across the globe motivates consumers to experiment.
Fusion cuisine, which combines culinary traditions, has gained popularity and familiarity across generations. From well-traveled Baby Boomers increasingly exposed to ethnic flavors to Millennials who probably have experienced ethnic cuisine from an early age, no longer are folks satisfied with solely making traditional recipes such as meat loaf or sloppy Joes.
Which cuisine is king? While that’s a debate that will never be settled, trends indicate that the most popular dishes consumers are experimenting with include flavors from Latin America and Southeast Asia, specifically Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand.
One example is Ras el Hanout, which Sensient identified as an up-and-coming flavor trend for 2014. Meaning “top of the shop” in Arabic, Ras el Hanout has no definitive recipe (it generally features cardamom, chili peppers, cinnamon, clove, coriander, cumin, ginger, paprika, peppercorn and turmeric) and brings the overall flavors and culture of Morocco to consumers’ kitchens.
Za’atar is also on the rise in popularity. A popular Middle Eastern spice blend that most commonly includes sumac, thyme, oregano, marjoram, toasted sesame seeds and salt, it was named one of Sensient’s Trends to Taste flavors for 2013. What’s more, The Huffington Post named Za'atar as one of 14 foods to add to your diet this year.