The McCormick Flavor Forecast is one of my favorite food trend reports and I advise all of my clients to use this as a resource for innovative new product development and keeping one step ahead of the competition. It is easy to read AND the best part…it is free!
Every year I look forward to interviewing Kevan Vetter, Executive Chef Manager, and Product Development - Culinary for McCormick & Company to give me insight on the trends and how food entrepreneurs can use the vast resources of McCormick.
McCormack Flavor Forecast 2013 Highlights
Here are top line trends that can be accessed in more detail at the Flavor Forecast site, which I have incorporated that link as well as others at the end of this article.
No Apologies Necessary - Incorporation of decadent flavors to spur instant gratification and a quick escape from the rigors of everyday life
Personally Handcrafted - A hands-on approach showcasing the very best of ourselves
Empowered Eating - Consumers seeking to personalize their health and wellness diets… truly desiring flexibility and great taste
Hidden Potential - A waste-not mentality, uncovering the fullest flavors from every last part of the ingredient
Global My Way - Unlimited flavor possibilities of global ingredients, beyond traditional roles in "ethnic" cuisines
Readers see lots of forecasts this time of the year and readers would be interested in how McCormick's Gathers Information to Create the Flavor Forecast?
"Well this is the 13th year of report and it is a result of a great team of 40 people globally, chefs, food scientists,etc. We are surprised how similar trends are across cultures. Once our team vets the trends we get into the kitchen to see how the flavor combos actually work. "
Kevan focuses on trends vs. flavor combinations because combinations can be fleeting. As a food entrepreneur you really want to know trends with longevity since it new product development and launch can add up to tens of thousands of dollars. "We have pretty good success in the kitchen since the team vets out the flavor combos. Many of these trends we forecast take a longer view… up to 3 years forward.
Our customers are really interested in our Flavor forecast… we start getting calls in the fall from customers as to when we can come in and present the trends and the world of flavor"
For example Pinterest is becoming the prime channel for visual marketing. Can we discuss how McCormick is moving toward "listening" to the crowd for an early sign of trends? Are their hotbeds in social media that really stand out for seeing early trends?
Since my last interview on the 2012 Flavor Forecast , social media and crowdsourcing are rapidly augmenting traditional research methods. I am intrigued with the growth in crowdsourcing and Kevan cautioned that trends pre-ceded what the crowd is saying.
For the whole digital space McCormick has a team dedicated to learning insights from the "crowd". Social media is not a driver for the report since what is happening in the "cloud" may already be transitioning into mainstream.
We are engaging one on one with bloggers… they are highly regarded and vice versa. This is the first year we have engaged them one on one. We have 4 McCormick Pinterest boards for bloggers to post pictures
Of the 5 trends spotted which ones do you see as most influential in new product development for retail brands?
I focus on retail CPG issues because food in supermarkets is really "food for later" and products need to be developed for withstanding the rigors of the supply chain AND the price point sensitivity retail consumers have.
The Empowered eating trend.. people are finding there is no magic bullet. The Market-Fresh Broccoli & Dukkah is my favorite… they key to eating better is flavor. Dukkah has great aroma, flavor and texture. This trend represents a great flavor profile that delivers great meal solutions to the customer as well as delivering something unexpected.
Global My Way is another and Japanese Katsu Sauce & Oregano (Tangy flavors of BBQ and steak sauce create the next go-to condiment) illustrate taking ingredients and using them in unexpected ways.
No Apologies Necessary… The 24/7 life of today's time starved consumer creates an opportunity for products with "escape flavors… experiencing a guiltless escape before jumping back into Empowered Eating.
In our next series New product ideas can come from crowdsourcing , of the Flavor Forecast 2013 we explore how you can use McCormicks Flavor Forecast for 2013, Pinterest and Blogger Influencers for new product ideas.