A Quick Taste of the
Latest Flavor Trends
Consumer tastes are always in flux — a reality about the food industry that keeps the staff at Wixon, a
Wisconsin-based flavors and seasonings
company, on their toes.
Wixon flavor chemists are constantly in
the lab, coming up with ways to innovate
with the latest fads. Here are the top three
trends they say could dominate the food
scene this year.
Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em
Consumers are responding to smoked
and fire-roasted flavors in a big way. It’s
no surprise that the flavor’s popularity has
been growing in meat products. What is a
little unexpected, however, is how those
flavors are popping up in other items such
as butter, sweet treats like chocolate and
caramel, and even in cocktails.
The most unusual place Zak Otto, lab
manager for the protein/pilot plant at
Wixon, says his team has seen the flavor
is in whipped cream.
Consumers are not only snatching up
smoked and fire-roasted products, they
are also becoming more nuanced in their
Otto says that consumers often want to
know how their meats were smoked —
using cherry wood, mesquite or hickory
wood, for example — because each
method can impart a different flavor.
Authentic & Adventurous
When it comes to buying food with
worldly flavors, consumers want to keep
“They want authenticity and
traceability,” explains Dawn Manthei,
Wixon’s lab manager for consumer
The catch is, consumers often want
those flavors on familiar foods.
“We’ve seen an uptick in North
African cuisine,” Otto explains. “Harissa
is a common spice in that cuisine and
traditionally used as a rub for meat.
Now you’re seeing it in salad dressing, put
on chips, etc. Our palates are expanding,
In other words, expect more products
like sriracha mayo and Thai coconut curry
“Consumers these days want to have
their cake and eat it too,” says Manthei.
“While they still enjoy desserts, there is
a lot more attention being paid to health
and wellness and an increased demand
for fewer calories.”
It’s this craving for nutritious sweets
that is leading to products like “Red Velvet
Nutritional Shakes” and “Cookie Dough
Because additives like vitamins or
protein frequently have a bitter taste,
Wixon often works with customers to
develop a desirable flavor that still offers
The trend is also popping up in
the meat aisle where Otto says some
companies are looking to switch from
pork-based products to leaner meats like
chicken or turkey — while maintaining
the rich taste of pork.
“We have technology that can add
mouth feel, mask the foul note of a flavor
and bring forward savory notes that come
from seasonings,” Otto explains of the
By Meagan Parrish, Senior Reporter
Food Manufacturing checks in with the experts at Wixon to
learn about the flavor trends arriving on the food scene in 2017.