Earthy Flavors Trend Takes Root in 2020

More and more consumers are looking for earthy flavors when ordering their next meal or picking their next product off the shelf.

Thanks to the “better-for-you” food choices that have powered an all-natural ingredient movement, earthy flavors are a big part of the conversation for restaurant and food and beverage CPG brands as they seek to give consumers what they want.

The earthy flavors trend of 2020 is made up of herbs, spices, mushrooms, roots and botanical flavors that have positive health effects on the mind and body.

To meet the demand, brands like Nikken Foods, a producer of high-quality, natural ingredients for food manufacturers, place a large focus on botanical ingredients for good mood food. The understanding is that, to unearth the healing qualities of food, you must get back to its roots – literally.

So, what makes earthy flavors popular? Simply put, they balance the ability to taste good with the benefit of being good for you. And that will get you far with today’s consumers.

Clearly, function matched with flavor is steering its success. According to a Technomic analyst’s report on flavors in 2019: “A particular advantage of herbs and spices has been their ability to add flavor without negatively impacting— and often improving—health perceptions. Indeed, several of the fastest growing herbs and spices, such as turmeric and cumin, are well-regarded for their anti-inflammatory properties.”

Tumeric is joined by other earthy flavors like ginseng, ginger, hemp, matcha, green tea leaves, cardamon, ashwagandha and others which are used to enhance the health benefits of beverages like kombucha and tea or foods like yogurt and chocolates.

The search trends around the world have supported the idea that consumers are zeroing in their focus on earthy flavors for their food and drink. Google’s Beverage Trends Report has revealed that the USA and United Kingdom search for ginger and kombucha more than any other earthy flavors, while Spain and Mexico have a keen interest in matcha tea or ginger tea. The report goes on to make it clear that consumers’ love for rich, distinct flavors with strong health benefits is growing at an incredible rate year over year.

Technomic’s 2019 report continues to identify that 31% of consumers crave herbal flavors – a jump from just 26% two years previous.

So, beyond the flavor profile and health benefits, what is leading the shift in consumer behavior that has made earthy flavors a key trend in 2020?

Technomic chalks it up to the increased usage of herbs and spices that can be found across menus all over the world. From tasty mocktails that use all-natural ingredients to plant-based meat substitutions to the rise in demand of organic food ingredients, consumers have found a way to enjoy tasty, guilt-free dishes that support their lifestyle.

At Nikken Foods, we also consider this all-natural ingredient trend to be a result of the mindfulness movement that has consumers seeking health benefits that include mental and spiritual benefits which will actively fight stress and promote physiological functioning.

Food Technology Magazine’s 2020 Flavor Forecast called upon flavorists, chefs and trendspotters to weigh in on the earthy flavors’ movement. They concurred that the same benefits that inspired traditional Chinese medicine and India’s Ayurveda system of medicine are being seen today as consumers select products that promote healing effects.

Their study concluded that earthy flavors are promoted heavily alongside botanical ingredients because they pair so well when balancing the palate for health and flavor profiles. By delivering a plant-based diet and being part of the “eating green movement,” this connection to health and natural ingredients checks all the boxes that consumers crave.

Ready to unearth your next flavor?

Let Nikken Food’s team of scientists and sales professionals support your product development and ensure you find the perfect, all-natural earthy flavor ingredients to promote healthfulness and mindfulness for your consumers.

Contact us today to learn more about our vast product portfolio.