As consumers stayed home and barbecue smoke filled backyards during COVID-19, interest in the category seemed to increase. Now, food formulators could consider barbecue flavors from Kansas City to South Korea to satisfy consumer curiosity. These flavors can be paired with items such as plant-based meat alternatives, marinades, sandwiches, and even fruit.
Comax Flavors, Melville, NY, included barbecue in its 2022 flavor trends and had data to support the decision. Grills and smokers sales increased 39% from April 2020 to February 2021, according to The NPD Group, Port Washington, NY. Global launches of barbecue flavored foods and beverages grew by 19% between 2015 and 2019, according to Innova Market Insights, Arnhem, The Netherlands.
Comax Flavors recently launched their “Get Grillin ‘” collection which includes Classic BBQ, Smoked Bourbon BBQ and Korean BBQ. The flavors can be used in a variety of applications, including animal protein and plant-based alternatives, seasonings, coatings, sauces, marinades, and snacks.
“Now that people are cooking more on the grill, we’ve seen an increased interest in barbecue flavors that are regionally diverse, from sweet to smoky,” says Catherine Armstrong, vice president of corporate communications for Comax Flavors.
Barbecue flavors work well in sandwiches, meats, plant-based meat alternatives, vegetables, sauces, dressings, marinades and condiments, according to Kerry, who has a US office in Beloit, Wisconsin. Kerry identified 26 barbecue, smoke and grill flavors across Europe, Asia Pacific-Middle East-Africa, North America, and Latin America. Thirty-nine global variations were identified. Korean barbecue flavors are becoming more popular, according to the company.
“Korean barbecue is still considered a very pervasive mainstream flavor for most people,” says Soumya Nair, global director of consumer research and insights at Kerry Taste & Nutrition. “For consumers, it is as if the American barbecue represents the Western profile and the Korean barbecue represents the East.
Now the familiar ingredients in Korean barbecue flavors like soy, honey, garlic, sesame, and gochujang make the concept work in just about any application, from a potato chip seasoning to a meat marinade, but To truly deliver Korean barbecue authenticity, developers must prioritize capturing the flavors created during charcoal cooking. The flavor dimension of the grill will help replicate this globally popular cultural concept. “
Consumers may associate Brazilian barbecue with the romance of smoke and cooking on or next to a fire, he says.
“But almost equally important is the simplicity of the seasoning, often using just coarse salt, to allow the fire to impart its magic and for the meats to maintain their natural rich and flavorful flavor,” says Nair, adding the seasonings of salt, pepper. , garlic, achiote, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper combined with the fiery flavors of smoking and grilling are perfect for spreading or marinating various meats.
“You could also consider using Brazilian barbecue as a condiment on grilled mixed vegetables, mixed with potatoes, or included in an alternative concept of protein meat where the smoky and meaty flavors bring you as close as possible to the elemental barbecue experience,” she says. . .
Differences in KC, Carolinas and Texas
The United States is home to region-specific barbecue flavors.
“Familiarity is key when indulging in pleasure,” says Jennifer Zhou, Chicago-based senior director of North American product marketing for ADM. “As such, the regional styles of barbecue in the US bring consumers back to their local roots. Kansas City features a smoky sweetness with mustard, molasses, brown sugar and Worcestershire notes on a tomato base. The Carolinas feature oriental-style profiles like vinegar and red pepper with a distinctive mustard-based sauce. Texas-style barbecue is best expressed with salt and pepper, smoked with oak. “
Taste is driven by the region, says Jill Houk, culinary director of spices for Olam Food Ingredients, a Singapore-based Olam International company.
“For example, with the Texas barbecue you will taste the flavor of mesquite, the wood used in Texas, known for its unique flavor, which is strong and intense and is an especially popular smoking wood in Southwest Texas,” he says. her.
Coping with smoky flavors
In 2022, spices that complement and resist smoky flavors will increase, Houk says.
“This will present an interesting challenge for food manufacturers as they look to differentiate their own smoked identity,” she says. “This is where the unique blends that include cumin, hot peppers and citrus will gain traction.”
Nuts, potato chips, jerky and other common savory snacks can enhance their flavor with smoked barbecue spices like smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne, ginger and cinnamon, she says.
“The strong smoky flavors in these spices also allow formulators to reduce the sodium content in the products,” she says. “Hints of barbecue flavors even make it into the desserts. Grilled pineapple or peaches can be an interesting addition to cakes, tarts, and ice cream, as well as using smoked vanilla to add complexity to dessert sauces. “