Specification Management Can Help Companies Embrace New Flavors

Specification Management Helps Companies Embrace New Flavors

Denis Storey
October 22, 2020

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Staying ahead of market trends is only as valuable as your company’s ability respond to them.

Getting new food and beverage products from concept onto store shelf takes time – in some cases, too much time. Experts say it takes anywhere from six months to a year and a half to introduce a new product. 

McCormick Flavor Solutions, a unit of McCormick & Co., recently published its annual flavor forecast, “Looking Back to Look Forward.” The report describes how our past flavor preferences influence the present “and how these trends continue to shape our tastes for tomorrow’s favorite flavors.”

McCormick’s flavor experts highlight four areas of expected growth as we get closer to the new year, including sweet and seasonal satisfaction, spicy revolution, global finds, and empowered eating and drinking.

Sweet and Seasonal Satisfaction

Consumer tastes always shift with the change in seasons. As a result, McCormick predicts that comfort foods are coming back, driven by smoked spices, pumpkin pie spice, and coconut milk.


“The tongue-tingling effect of smoked spices and herbs is an easy way to dial up richness in meals and drinks,” according to the McCormick forecast. “This builds on familiar smoky flavors that have been hiding in plain sight for years – like smoked cinnamon and cardamom – and is a natural progression in offering the next wave of smoke-forward flavor.”


Spicy Revolution

McCormick is hot on spice – as in chilies. They offer a wealth of flavors, from sour to sweet, and provide a subtle foundation for other combinations. Whether it’s the building block of a salsa, a marinade, or even a drink, McCormick points to a few chilies in particular:


  • Aji Amarillo – A bright orange, thick-fleshed chile abundant in Peruvian dishes.

  • Guajillo – A milder Mexican dried chile with a smoky, fruity flavor.

  • Tien Tsin – This Chinese chile is considered extremely hot.

  • Chilie de Arbol – Another Mexican chile that’s bold but offers a subtle, smoky taste.

McCormick’s chemists also expect pepper to break out of the back shelf of the spice rack and take center stage in the new year.


Global Finds

Another part of McCormick’s forecast focuses on global finds they think are worth another look, as companies – and consumers – look outside their comfort zone and beyond their borders to explore international flavor trends, such as:


  • Latin America: Bahian seasoning is an increasingly popular blend of oregano, parsley, peppers, and cumin that “top chefs rave about in its ability to seamlessly deliver the vibrant, flavorful traditions of Brazil to the table.” It’s used in stews, seafood, and vegetable dishes. The McCormick experts are also big on Mexican recados, a sour orange, and annatto-flavored Yucatan spice paste. It’s often found in meat marinades.

  • Modern Mediterranean: Mediterranean flavor highlights include barberries, baharat seasoning, and dukkah, a spice blend from North Africa.

  • Asian Finds: The authors of the flavor forecast also like what they found at izakayas, Japanese gastropubs, which offer casual tasting plates, with bold glazes, tangy sauces, and seaweed seasonings. In the Philippines, they’re fond of traditional Filipino street food like Pinoy BBQ, seasoned with soy sauce, lemon, garlic, sugar, pepper, and banana ketchup. And then there’s Kashmiri, “a fragrant blend of spices from the region of Kashmir for seasoning lamb dishes, like chicken curries and vegetables.”

Empowered Eating and Drinking

Today’s consumers want more than sustenance from their food and drinks. They’re seeking out more tailored offerings, plant-based products, and goods featuring functional ingredients.


  • Alternative Pulse Proteins: Vegetarians and, even more so, flexitarians have gone mainstream. And, according to McCormick, they’re passionate about high-protein legumes. This growing consumer niche likes to mix these proteins with cumin, coconut, sage, and Albariño.

  • Blends with Benefits: Consumers are also flocking to beneficial herbs and spices, such as matcha, chia seeds, turmeric, and flaxseed.

  • Umami Veggies: Umami-rich vegetables, for those consumers hunting for something beyond the traditional four tastes, include mushrooms, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and nori. As a result, a growing number of companies are turning to these vegetables as ingredients in new products, such as snacks, desserts, and beverages.

Supply Chain Visibility 

Dreaming up a new product – whether it’s a spicy snack cake or a vegetarian protein drink – and putting it together in a test kitchen is one thing. But finding and qualifying suppliers who can meet the specifications you’ve drafted is something else entirely.


TraceGains Specification Management solution can help your supply chain partners assemble those specifications while automatically tracking all the data you exchange. This groundbreaking approach to specification management presents a competitive advantage for manufacturers that want to get new products on store shelves while the trends are still hot.


Specification Management lets new product development teams draft and publish raw material and finished goods specifications to fast-track new product development. The system combines customer requirements, internal input and judgment, and practical supplier capabilities to provide a baseline for specification design. Information exchange is immediate and merged in a single database, with automated workflows and alerts accessible to every stakeholder.


Find out how Specification Management can help accelerate new product development here


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