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the top flavor trends of 2017

September 13 2017 by Holly

Taste expert Holly breaks down the latest and greatest flavor trends of the year, freshly gathered from the Annaheim Food Expo.

apple chips 1

Cinnamon Apple

This is a classic flavor combination! The spice goes perfectly with the sweet sharpness of an apple giving it a sweet slightly woody warmth.

recipe: Ellie's famous apple crumble

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Birthday Cake

How does something become "birthday cake" flavored? Well, the actual taste is predominantly vanilla, upgraded with multicolored confetti sprinkles.

This flavor is obviously very popular here in the USA because its very sweet - we Americans have a massive sweet tooth! - and the confetti makes it fun too. It's in pancake mixes, peanut butters, oreos and protein shakes.

recipe: coconut flour vanilla mug cake with birthday sprinkles
brownies 3

Maple Sea Salt

Similarly to the popular Salted Caramel, the marriage of salt and sweet maple is another flavor sensation!

recipe: salted maple brownies
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Superfoods

The list of superfoods keeps on growing every year, there is always a new one to get excited about.

Some common, well known foods seem to have been upgraded to ‘superfood’ status, such as kale, blueberries, sweet potato, pumpkin seeds, turmeric, coconut, cacao. But there is also a group of less well known foods to be considered ‘superfoods’ that often come in powder form.

Their unfamiliar nature makes them seem more exotic and nutritious. To name a few: acai, baobab, spirulina, chlorella, lucuma, maca, acerola, guarana, yacon.

what makes a food "super"?
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Cheese

Specifying provenance and variety has always been a must for wine, coffee and chocolate connoisseurs, but now it is becoming ever more important to the everyday consumer.

Cheese flavor just isn't good enough anymore, and now we're seeing nacho cheese, white cheddar, blue cheese, dutch gouda and asiago specifically in more and more foods.

recipe: beet cheese bites

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summer bbq square 6

BBQ

We Americans know how to do BBQ. The traditional American barbecue belt stretches from the Carolinas to Texas and Missouri and from Kentucky in down through the deep South.

Between each region the BBQ flavor changes. But recently it seems the punchier and the smokier the better!

guide to BBQ sauces

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bowls korean bbq 7

Asian

Not only are foodies mad on regional BBQ flavors, they are also getting really big on Asian BBQ flavors too. The amazing thing about Korean flavors is that you get your five flavors — sweet, salty, sour, acidic, and spicy — all encompassed in a single dish or bite!

recipe: korean bbq sauce
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Thai sriracha

Sriracha sauce, a hot sauce from Thailand, is the new 'it' condiment here in the U.S. You can’t have anything without it.

recipe: spicy sriracha ramen noodles
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Wasabi

People go crazy for that intense mustard-like wasabi tang. A staple on the side of sushi, wasabi is popping up as a flavor in peas, crisps, cheese, and even oreos!

recipe: wasabi salmon skewers
peanut butter 10

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter has been a staple household ingredient for decades, perfect in a PB & J sandwich. However, it was shunned a few years ago for being full of added salt, sugar and palm oil. Well now it's back with a bang!

Nut butter producers have started making peanut butter much healthier by removing the additives and blending in pumpkin seeds and other nuts for a more rounded nutritional profile. Nut butter innovation has in the last year also included creating spicy, savory and added protein options.

new mini protein balls with peanut butter

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Blueberry

Blueberries has been one of the main super berries for decades. You'll find them in protein bars, muffins, cakes, cookies, you name it.

recipe: overnight blueberry and pear chia oatmeal

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Acai

Acai is a super berry that grows on the acai palm tree in northern parts of South America. Shaped like a blueberry, it has a deep purple colour and an intense fruity flavor. Sourced straight from Brazil, the berries are freeze-dried whole to capture the fruit at its freshest and preserve all the vitamins and nutrients, before being ground into a powder.

Acai became available in supplement form in 2004, in 2013 the pulp was used to make the very popular deep fuscia colored smoothie bowls. It's quite a pricey ingredient, but a foodie buzzword sprinkled into energy bars, yogurts, juices, chocolates, shampoos, and skin care products.

recipe: acai berry cheesecake
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Snickerdoodle

Inspired by the spiced shortcrust biscuits popular in European countries, snickerdoodle combines cinnamon and caramel flavors to melt together perfectly for a truly decadent treat.

The spread version was first created in Belgium (by a genius, clearly), and has a creamy or crunchy texture like peanut butter, but with a spiced, caramelized gingerbread flavor that tastes like the Holiday season in your mouth.

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pumpkin spice latte 14

Pumpkin spice

It seems like ever since Starbucks launched their seasonal limited edition pumpkin spice latte, this flavor profile has grown in popularity year on year with every fall that comes around. And this year's no different!

The usual spice combination that makes up this famous mixture is 18 parts ground cinnamon, 4 parts ground nutmeg, 4 parts ground ginger, 3 parts ground cloves and 3 parts ground allspice.

recipe: DIY pumpkin spice latte
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Dill pickle

Consumers stopped buying chips (or at least tried to), and sales reduced enough that chip brands had to do something about it.

The resulting innovation in manufacturing process and flavors means you can now get baked, popped, vegetable and egg based chips, with flavors ranging from wasabi, to chocolate, to bacon mac ‘n’ cheese and, our favorite - dill pickle.

You could put its popularity down to its clear similarity to other market leaders; salt and vinegar and sour cream & onion, or the fact that pickles have become a food trend themselves. Have you tried pickling at home yet?

recipe: homemade dill pickle
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Cookie dough

This classic started as a popular ice cream flavor, which combines vanilla ice cream and chocolate cookie wafers. Now you can find it in oreos, peanut butter, frappuccinos, soda, ale, protein bars, vodka, you name it!

recipe: healthy cookie dough energy bites

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salted fudge & peanut cookie 17

Salted Caramel

If 2008 gave us anything, it's the delicious flavor combination of salted caramel. The balance of sweet and savory creates an indulgent taste which has stood the test of time, as you can see by the fact that it's still trending nearly ten years later!

Salted caramel became trendy in 2008 and has held its ground to today! It is the ultimate sweet salty treat.

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Vegan Chai Latte 18

Chai

The flavor of this traditional Indian tea has really taken off. Traditional freshly made chai is made with black tea, fresh cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, peppercorns and enough sugar to bring out the spice flavor.

recipe: vegan chai lattes
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Matcha

Matcha is powdered bright green tealeaves from Japan. It has a bitter, umami, leafy green taste, so is more palatable with something sweet, like almond milk, and is a great flavor in cakes and ice cream.

recipe: white chocolate matcha cookies
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Chocolate Mint

The popular flavor combo of rich, comforting chocolate with cooling hint of refreshing mint.

recipe: vegan mint chocolate chip ice cream
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Mango Habanero

A spicy, tangy flavor popular with chicken - as a glaze or dipping sauce. If you want to get creative you can try making mango habanero jelly, salsa or even margaritas!

Sweet and spicy is an increasingly popular flavor combo - hot spices work especially well on sweet, tangy tropical fruits like mango and pineapple!

recipe: mango habanero sauce
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Turmeric

Used as part of curry recipes for centuries, this ingredient has recently become trendy because of its considerable health benefits and beautifully rich color.

This intensely yellow spice, is heralded for its anti-inflammatory properties - we’ve recently experimented with some in a flapjack recipe!

recipe: vegetarian turmeric broth
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Lavender

This beautifully delicate ingredient adds a sophistication to whatever you're making, both in the flavor and the decoration.

Floral is fashionable in 2017. It’s the industry’s answer to the demand for more exciting, but still natural flavors. We’ve seen lavender on cashew nuts, in cookies, teas, energy bars, cocktails, sodas and chocolates, as well as other floral flavors such as rose, hibiscus and jasmine.

recipe: vegan chocolate lavender cupcakes
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Sour cherry

Sour cherries sales are up! This is because of all the media attention on their health benefits. Sour and bitter flavors are also growing in popularity, in tandem with innovation coming out of the backlash on sugar.

recipe: raw cherry cheesecake
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By Holly, assistant taste expert.

Holly is the newest member of the taste team, working with Bobby to make sure our snacks are always the best they can be. She's got a sweet tooth and especially enjoys working with chocolate and creating our unique deconstructed desserts.

view all posts by Holly

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