When assessing flavors, there are many different levels of ‘local’. For example, although there is significant segmentation of Mediterranean and European flavors within Europe, further afield, more generic flavor descriptors are enough to add value. On the global stage, the top taste in this category is Italian, while Mediterranean is ranked third, Spanish fourth and Greek fifth. As an example of these generic tastes in use, the Impossible plant-based range in the US has seen the addition of several sausage varieties this year, including a variant described simply as ‘Italian’.
In complete contrast, other local cuisines are far more specific to narrower environs. In the US many states have their own distinct barbecue flavors, and these specific tastes are being more widely promoted overseas. For example, in the UK, Tesco’s Fire Pit range of barbecue foods saw the launch of a Memphis Inspired BBQ Sweet & Smoky rub and glaze kit for this summer.
There are many factors at play in generating demand for global tastes: from travel, tourism and immigration through to media (and social media) coverage and foodservice trends. The rise of street food in certain parts of the world is also expanding consumers’ horizons and creating trends that are then transferred to the home, while some international tastes are expanding on the back of healthy credentials, e.g. fermented foods such as kombucha, kimchi, miso, etc. All of these factors ensure continued demand for international concepts going forward and, when it comes to the flavors we eat, the world is becoming a smaller and smaller place.