The flavours that will drive future food innovation

WGSN identifies the trends that will be shaping new products by the end of 2023.

Diversity, comfort and health – as well as a drive to discover new purchases – will be key factors in the development of new products across food categories by Fall 2023, according to WGSN’s Autumn Flavours Forecast.

Those drivers will encourage consumers to try new flavours and formats, with 67% of them wanting to try “new tastes paired with familiar flavours.” Interest will remain among the classics such as pumpkin spice, maple and apple, but increasingly, the report notes that more complex and layered flavours such as bourbon and curry will appeal – as will lesser-known cuisines and cultures.

Meanwhile, consumers interested in healthier eating might be drawn in by the many benefits of mushrooms, while the medicinal qualities of the spices in many curries will also come to the fore.

One such standout, according to the report, is ube – a staple in Filipino cuisine. The purple yam boasts an eye-catching colour that has landed it squarely in the sights of many social media influencers and sent its popularity surging. This is true here in Canada as well, where Halifax gastropub Studio East showcased the tuber’s signature colour with its “Barney Burger,” which featured an ube-steamed bao bun, and demand for ice cream flavoured like it has driven retail shortages in the past.

“Brands can tap into ube’s similarity to autumnal produce like sweet potato and pumpkin, with the added advantage of its Instagram-worthy hue,” the report states. In fact, the WGSN has tracked an increase in social engagement via its proprietary “Buzz” index that shows “rising interest in the earthy flavour as consumers transition into the colder season.” The trend forecaster suggests that CPGs can capitalize on this newfound popularity and the colourful appeal of ube to make waves on the shelf.

Curries are another food that WGSN anticipate will rise in the Fall. In part, the trend forecaster attributes this anticipated surge to the “complexity and transformative global tastes for consumers who are turning to warm comforting flavors for autumn and yet demanding newness,” the report states. It also emphasizes the wide variety of curries available, from Indian tikka masala to South African Durban curry.

“Curry presents a warming flavour and appetizing golden hue for autumn menus and CPGS,” the WGSN say.