The American Palate just keeps craving more. We’re demanding spicier snack chips, chewing gum with greater flavor intensity, and restaurant entrees with tastes that wow us.
This growing desire for amped up flavor has been building over the past two decades, writes Miriam Gottfried, in an article for wsj.com. And food companies have responded, turbo charging foods with spices and ingredients that most of us had never heard of before.
Arugula and ancho-chile sauce have found their way into the kitchens of Applebee’s and Chili’s. Frito-Lay introduces Doritos’ flavors with names that sound painful: First-, Second- and Third-Degree Burn. Dr Pepper-Snapple has a line of energy drinks that sound positively lethal. Ready to drink some Venom?
Gum maker Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. is using new textured crystals called Micro-Bursts that deliver more powerful flavors. The company now introduces about a dozen new flavors every year.
At home, we’re stocking an average of 40 different spices, a number that seasoning company McCormick says has grown twice as fast in the past two decades as it did in the previous 30 years, as noted in Gottfried’s article. In the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ70s and Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ80s, our spice racks carried more like 25 different seasonings.
â€˜Bold is replacing boring,â€™ Kevan Vetter, McCormick’s executive chef told Gottfried. Vetter leads a team that meets every year to develop the company’s annual flavor forecast. The forecast includes flavor pairings predictions, which this year included such partners as roasted ginger and rhubarb, and Thai basil with watermelon.
America’s cultural blend plays a part in our yearning for more variety and intensity. Asian and Szechuan cooking are influences, as are cuisines from Latin countries.
We don’t always know where the new flavors are coming from, we just know we want more.
Click here to read the original WSJ article in full.
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