NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dukkah on your snack crackers? Cajeta in your stir-fry? These international ingredients are among the flavor trends that McCormick & Co Inc thinks will be hot a few years from now.
According to its 2013 "Flavor Forecast," the U.S. spice company identified certain trends and flavor combinations it thinks can have wide use for its customers, which range from packaged food and beverage makers, to fast food and restaurant chains and retailers.
One ingredient is dukkah, a Middle Eastern spice blend made with toasted nuts, cumin, coriander and sesame seeds.
"Not only is it rich and savory, but it's also got this great textural aspect to it, which is really important when it comes to food and flavor," said Kevan Vetter, executive chef at McCormick, a company with some $3 billion in annual sales. Vetter devised a recipe in the report for broccoli with dukkah.
"We know that dukkah and broccoli may not be the next snack cracker, but dukkah is a great option to go into a cracker," Vetter said. While McCormick sells most of the ingredients for dukkah, it does not sell a ready-made blend. Yet Vetter said that is possible sometime down the road.
"We like to use this report as a great catalyst for our own innovation as well," said Vetter.
Other highlighted ingredients are cajeta, a milk caramel popular in Mexico, and katsu sauce, a thick, tangy sauce popular in Japan. McCormick highlighted the Mexican caramel sauce as an ingredient in a pork tenderloin stir-fry and paired the katsu sauce with oregano. These ingredients have interesting uses for capable home chefs, Vetter said.
The report, in its 13th year, is a tool that McCormick uses to help its customers "think differently about their business by bringing in trends, flavors, that in their day-to-day, they may not think of as being appropriate for their line," Vetter said.
Prior food trends that McCormick predicted included coconut water in 2008, smoked paprika in 2006 and chipotle in 2003. The company also recommended "pumpkin pie spice" and Thai basil in 2010.
Reporting By Martinne Geller in New York, editing by Nick Zieminski