Hasegawa USA named ube as the 2024 Flavor of the Year. The research finds that ube, a tuberous root from the Philippines known for its bright purple hue and distinctive earthy, nutty and sweet flavor profile, is becoming a mainstream ingredient in the US. Its distinct flavor and color made it popular among foodies and social influencers recently. Flavor experts at the California-based company published their 2024 trend report, which highlights and forecasts consumer preferences in food and beverage flavors next year.
It can be used in a multitude of applications including desserts and baked goods.
“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.”
The 2024 report also 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.”
Photo: T. Hasegawa USA