Flavor trends for 2023 and beyond: A closer look

By Mike Kostyo

We hope you’ve gotten a chance to take a look (or a listen) to our 2023 trends. Our expansive annual food trend report is crafted by our team to include foods and flavors we see bubbling up, but also the key macro trends that give important context to each. 

We’ve talked in recent weeks about big trends like Gen Alpha’s developing taste preferences, AI and its impact on the food industry, the search for a new “Third Place,” and the drive to create a better back of house. 

But now let us take a moment to get back to those foods and flavors we believe will be everywhere this year and beyond.

Every year we unveil the top 10 flavors and ingredients we think, based on extensive data and research, could be the “next big thing” in the years ahead. But this year, for the first time, we’ve also released the 10 flavors and ingredients that will accelerate on menus and in retail products in the immediate year ahead. We hope you’ll use both these lists to experiment with new flavors and perhaps use the ones you’ve already tried in different ways.

Ten Flavors & Ingredients
THAT WILL BE EVERYWHERE IN 20232023 Trends

1 UBE This purple yam is lending its eye-catching color to everything from pancakes to ice cream. It’s particularly popular in breakfast items and baked goods, and is being driven by its brilliant purple hue and the growth of Filipino cuisine.
2 MANGONADA The Mexican frozen beverage made with mango sorbet and chamoy topped with Tajin has grown 100% on menus in the last year alone, and it’s also growing as a flavor.
3 YUZU This Japanese citrus fruit will expand on menus this year. Yuzu is becoming a go-to citrus flavor and will show up on even more chain menus and national retail products in 2023.
4 SPICY MAPLE Adding a spicy kick to sweets and a sweet-and-spicy complement to savory dishes, particularly on fall and winter menus, this is the next hot honey.
5 MUSHROOMS It’s not just baby bellas anymore. Mushrooms are becoming the go-to functional ingredient, particularly unique varieties like Lion’s Mane.
6 BIRRIA This traditional Mexican stew is showing up in a range of dishes, often transformed into tacos, on both chain and independent menus.
7 SALSA MACHA Made with dried peppers, nuts, and oil, this Mexican chile crisp is up 339% on menus in the past four years. Once you’ve heard of this, you’ll start seeing it everywhere.
8 SOJU This Korean alcoholic beverage is the third fastest-growing spirit on menus.
9 LONDON FOG Essentially an Earl Grey latte, this drink and flavor profile is growing due to the health connotations of tea and the growth of floral flavors on menus and at retail.
10 RANCH WATER This refreshing cocktail is the fastest-growing item on menus this year.

 

Ten Flavors & Ingredients
TO WATCH FOR IN THE FUTURE

2023 Trends 2

1 CHERRY BLOSSOM Making its way from Japan (where it's called sakura) to the U.S.
2 MSG As consumers learn that MSG has gotten a bad rap, operators are adding it to the menu as a provocation. 
3 VERJUS The ancient grape juice/vinegar is making a comeback on fine dining menus. 
4 NEXT-LEVEL CANNABIS Sales in the 21 states where it's legal and the march toward national legalization mean plenty of new cannabis research and new products hitting the market.
5 WHITE COFFEE Lightly roasted coffee beans, less bitter and higher in caffeine, are currently more popular overseas but poised to show up in more U.S. drinks in the future. 
6 SAVORY GRANOLA A new spin on a breakfast classic, savory granola is showing up as a crunchy topper on chef-driven independent menus. 
7 PICKLED STRAWBERRIES Pickling things other than traditional cucumbers is a fresh way to impact acid in a dish, but green strawberries have become a go-to option for some chefs when in season.
8 SISIG This flavorful Filipino pork dish is showing up in lots of variations. 
9 BLACK TAHINI Made with black sesame seeds, traditional tahini's more dramatic cousin is showing up in dips and desserts. 
10 CHESTNUT FLOUR Gluten-free and high in fiber, this flour with a slightly sweet taste is growing in next-level Italian and winter baked goods.

Mike Kostyo is the Trendologist and an Associate Director at Datassential. 

The 2023 Food Trends: Data & Research Report is available to Report Pro subscribers with a login here.

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