After thoroughly enjoying my involvement with the McCormick Flavor Forecast last year, I was very happy to be invited to participate again for the 2013 report, officially launching later today! The Flavor Forecast is a report identifying emerging culinary trends that will drive culinary innovation over the coming year and beyond.
This year, blogger participants got a sneak peek of the Forecast. We also had the opportunity for a one-on-one interview with Chef Kevan Vetter who has been with McCormick for 15 years and involved in the Flavor Forecast for 13 of those 15 years.
I was interested to hear a little bit about the process of creating the Flavor Forecast each year (each report is prepared 3-5 years in advance) – especially with this, the second year of the report being global in its perspective. Chef Kevan explained that since McCormick is a globally integrated brand with a presence in over 100 countries that the report couldn’t go any way BUT global at this stage of its life. To prepare the 2013 report, the McCormick experts (chefs, culinary kitchens, sensory scientists, dieticians, trend trackers, marketing experts and food technologists) from around the globe met in the UK (they rotate meeting places around the globe each year) and were asked to come with what the top 5 trends they believed would be impactful in their area of the world over the coming year(s).
The report is geared towards a wide range of stakeholders in the food industry and showcases thought leadership around flavour; its goal is to make people think differently about flavours over a 3-5 year period. What struck me about this year’s report was how it featured many unusual ingredients (those ingredients that might not have been so common, say, 5 years ago), and not just in the Global, My Way strand of the report. This definitely speaks to the fact that the Internet and technology in general (including TV) have been an absolute boon for food industry and the digital and social experience accelerates the way people look at and accept “different” food; also the availability of hard-to-find ingredients has increased over the past few years making previously inaccessible dishes much more do-able for the home cook.
The 2013 report includes five “themes” – No Apologies Necessary featuring “sumptuous flavours”, Personally Handcrafted featuring “a hands-on approach to showcasing the best of ourselves”, Empowered Eating which focuses on “health and wellness harmony through a highly personalized approach”, Hidden Potential focusing on “uncovering the fullest flavours from every last part of the ingredient” and finally, Global My Way featuring “unlimited flavour possibilities of global ingredients.”
The two themes I am most looking forward to checking our are definitely Empowered Eating and Global My Way. Especially due to my involvement in boys’ cooking classes, I am coming to realize the importance of being more thoughtful about the food we put in our (and our children’s) mouths. Far from being simply the “health” component of the report, Empowered Eating focuses on helping people understand that what they eat has an impact on their health and that tasty food will help keep them on board for eating better. Taking out salt, for example, doesn’t mean removing the flavour, if you replace it somehow with other flavourful ingredients that are better for your health. This part of the report stresses the importance of thoughtfully, not randomly, eating and the need to be conscious of what we put in our mouths.
The Global My Way theme interests me a lot because one of the souvenirs I love to bring back from my travels is recipes or cookbooks (or simply a photo of a dish I loved with the intent to recreate it as best I can in my own kitchen). This part of the report takes that a step further by incorporating “ethnic” ingredients in non-traditional ways, no longer limiting them to their native uses (Anise in your cajeta sauce, for example!)
Watch this space over the next month as I check out some of the recipes incorporating flavours from the McCormick 2013 Flavor Forecast – you’ll be surprised and inspired!
Disclosure: I am being compensated for my participation in the Mc Cormick 2013 Flavor Forecast. All opinions are 100% my own. Images used with permission from Mc Cormick.
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