Consumer demand for bolder flavors ups sales of fermented foods

Kimchi, pickles, whiskey, fish sauce, tempeh and miso are all on trend according to new survey data on consumer taste preferences.

Heightened consumer interest in bolder flavors is intersecting with a desire for authentic, worldly preparations to propel the appeal of fermented foods, finds a new report from Packaged Facts, publisher of the Culinary Trend Tracking Series (CuTTS). "Packaged Facts survey data in 2014 finds that 53 percent of consumers seek out bolder flavors," says David Sprinkle, research director, Packaged Facts. "Fermented foods have found a rising tide of popularity due to the convergence of this desire for spicier, bolder flavors and a growing focus on global foods that represent authentic preparations. It's the perfect storm, so to speak, for propelling globally-inspired fermented artisanal foods into the mainstream."

Kimchi, craft pickles, fish sauce, dried shrimp & shrimp paste, whiskey and tempeh & miso are trend profiles in which the new report, Fermented Artisanal Foods: Culinary Trend Tracking Series, takes a deep dive.

Regional preparations of fermented foods, like craft pickles and small-batch whiskey, are being elevated in the preferences of consumers looking for artisan foods. In addition to growing artisan appreciation of these foods, more consumers are preferring foods that contain ingredients geared toward wellness. The probiotic goodness of some of these foods, such as kimchi, lactic-acid fermented craft pickles and miso, are appealing to those looking to boost digestive health. Propelled by culinary interest in umami flavor, also known as the fifth taste, fish sauce and dried shrimp are seeing larger roles as ingredients in the kitchens of popular restaurants and foodservice operations as they carve their path toward consumer homes.

Packaged Facts' new report, Fermented Artisanal Foods: Culinary Trend Tracking Series, explores seven different foods and beverages that encompass thematic avenues of opportunity for food businesses:

Korean kimchi - Korean pickled vegetables date back to the 13(th)
century and are an indispensable staple in Korean cooking. Scientific
study into kimchi's probiotics benefits in humans is ongoing. The zesty,
pungent flavor of kimchi wakens the flavor of milder proteins, making it
a condiment and ingredient to watch.

Craft pickles - New types of pickles and new flavor combinations signal
that the craft pickling industry is here to stay. Whether through
vinegar or natural (lactic acid) fermentation, pickles are appearing on
more dishes and in a greater number of retail offerings. Craft pickles,
a perfect complement to American proteins, are being upscaled in
culinary circles and in the fast-casual restaurant segment.

Asian, fermented fish sauce and dried shrimp or shrimp paste - With more
chefs and consumers taking a deeper culinary dive into umami--the salty,
savory taste profile -- ancient, fermented preparations of fish and
shrimp will gain more room at the table.

Small-batch whiskey - Whiskey is going small. An artisanal approach to
whiskey involves a smaller manufacturer and more specialized batch
distillation and aging process, upping the ante on whiskey in drinks and
boosting its appeal and relevance in cuisine and as a indulgent
flavoring agent.

Tempeh and miso -Tempeh, the loaf-like fermented soybean food imported
from Indonesia, is extremely versatile and gaining popularity. Miso's
versatility and umami flavor fuel its rising reputation as a star of the
modern kitchen, lining up beside newly popular in the U.S. flavors from
Asia such as sriracha and wasabi.
Food industry innovators will appreciate the fresh menu and packaged food opportunities related to foods fermented with care and will be inspired to strategize new and revamped meal, snack and beverage products. 

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