CERRITOS, Calif. — One of the world's top 10 food and beverage flavor manufacturers has identified the official 2024 "Flavor of the Year": Ube.
A bright purple tuberous root hailing from the Philippines, Ube has gained international recognition for its exquisite purple hue and distinctive earthy, nutty and sweet flavor profile. Fast becoming a mainstream ingredient in the U.S. thanks to its trademark violet or lavender color, Ube offers a multitude of applications ranging from savory dishes such as purple mashed potatoes, gnocchi and sauces to infusing a twist into desserts, baked goods and even beverages. Due to its growing popularity among foodies and culinary influencers on social media for providing a splash of natural color in Instagram- and TikTok-worthy dishes, experts agree that Ube is poised to take center stage as a flavor ingredient next year.
Ube's new title as Flavor of the Year is just one of many findings in the 2024 Food and Beverage Flavor Trends Report, an annual summary by California-based T. Hasegawa USA.
T. Hasegawa has developed custom flavors for the world's top food and beverage brands for more than a century. Globally recognized for its innovation and expertise in flavor development and proprietary flavor enhancing technologies, T. Hasegawa remains at the forefront of consumer trends and shares these developments and research findings throughout the food and beverage industry.
"Studying and predicting upcoming consumer flavor trends is foundational to our industry and T. Hasegawa's R&D team is uniquely positioned to share these findings because we work with many of the world's leading food and beverage brands," said Doug Resh, director of commercial marketing at T. Hasegawa USA. "Understanding where consumer trends are headed is the first step in the process of flavor development, which blends expertise and novel technologies to create better-tasting food and beverage products."
In addition to spotlighting Ube as Flavor of the Year, T. Hasegawa's 2024 report outlines other up-and-coming ingredients, along with many overarching culinary trends:
- Return to Comfort: how comfort foods will take center stage in 2024, providing a sense of nostalgia and familiarity as a respite from the fast-paced world.
- Female Connoisseurs: How women will take the lead in food and beverage consumerism to set new standards for quality and innovation.
- Glocal Adventures: A look at how the fusion of global and local ('glocal') culinary elements will bring diverse tastes closer to home, promoting cultural exploration.
- Healthy Aging Through Precise Nutrition: Details on the increased focus on healthy aging, which will lead to more tailored dietary choices to promote vitality and longevity.
- Empowered Experiences: How personalized food and beverage experiences will thrive in 2024, as consumers desire to feel good and be heard and seen in their choices.
"While specific flavors, spices and ingredients are always a key part of our trends analysis, we also look to identify broader shifts in consumer habits since they impact everything from restaurant menus and foodservice to CPG products," added Resh. "The overarching theme is that consumers are seeking heightened culinary experiences, across every category in the industry."
T. Hasegawa's 2024 Food and Beverage Flavor Trends Report is available for free download at www.thasegawa.com/flavor-trends-2024.