The search for something new, different and exciting is leading flavor developments in food and beverage, supported by an ongoing interest in natural, clean label and healthier options, according to a report released by Innova Market Insights, The Netherlands.

Here are the top flavor trends for 2019:

1. New discoveries
Consumers are on a big, broad journey of discovery, moving out of their comfort zones to explore new food experiences, with flavor playing a major part in that. This is illustrated by the fact that two out of three U.S. respondents agreed that they love to discover new flavors. Even among more traditional consumers who didn’t agree with the statement, there is still a role for reinventing classic flavors with novel twists, alongside developing new and more unusual flavors and combinations.

2. Sensational concepts
Brands are leaning toward more unusual flavor hybrids, as well as stronger taste experiences (hot, sweet, savory, etc.), while sour options are also surging in popularity. Well-established sweet and salty combinations are being joined by a whole raft of other hybrid flavor solutions, led by initiatives such as sushi pizza, spicy tuna roll corn dogs, pasta bacon tacos and ramen burgers in the foodservice sector.

3. Sophisticated touch
Established flavors perceived to be dull are being reinvented, often in much more complex and sophisticated combinations. An aging population is driving the demand for more adult-oriented options, with traditional coffee flavor, for example, increasingly giving way to more upmarket, added-value and on-trend options in a whole range of food and beverage products. As well as coffee, other adult-oriented flavors growing in popularity include various types of alcohol, as well as smoke/roasted options.

4. Cultural celebration
Consumers regard themselves as world citizens, and are increasingly interested in diverse flavors inspired by foreign cuisines. Southeast Asian, East Asian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors are more in evidence in traditional and familiar Western snacks, beverages and ready-to-eat meals. This demand for authentic-style ethnic alternatives focuses not just on flavor, but also recipes and even product/ingredients origins/provenance.

5. Fifth dimension
Umami is the fifth basic taste after sweet, sour, bitter and salty, but unlike the others, it’s hard to define. Often described as savory and meaty, it comes down to the taste of glutamates on the tongue. Western awareness remains low, but the rising demand for exotic flavors and convenient home cooking is driving growth of launches with an umami claim. Conversely, umami is well-established and understood in the East, but the recent focus on mindful food choices and the demand for clean and healthy products continues to drive the use of ingredients with a natural source of umami taste.

The other top trends identified are:

6. Bitter is back
7. Botanicals branch out
8. Fruitful favorites
9. Functionally flavorful
10. Flavor connections