In order to track Latin America’s top taste trends in 2019, Kerry Taste & Nutrition scanned the market for new product launches, interviewed consumers from Mexico, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and Brazil, tracked the latest gastronomic creations in restaurants, searched social media for trends, and quizzed its own culinary experts.
"Our goal with the study was to find out which flavors will delight, amaze, and excite people from now on. We always want to provide the best taste experience with high-quality ingredients and for that, we need to know what the audience expects," said Soledad Almeida, marketing manager at Kerry.
It found that while taste is still king, Latin Americans are increasingly looking for healthy and natural food.
The number of organic and additive-free launches in Brazil increased by 29% between 2016 and 2017 while 59% of Latin American consumers want to see more low-sugar products on the shelves.
Meanwhile, increased diversity and a globalized food chain are nudging consumers to go back to their roots.
"People […] want to know the history of each product, from the origin to the production method,” says Soledad Almeida, marketing manager at Kerry.
In Latin America, this can be seen through the popularity of regional flavors and native foods. Examples include yogurts flavored with jabuticaba fruit in Brazil, guacamole-flavored mayonnaise in Mexico or local honey used in jarred sauces in Costa Rica.
Consumers are also interested in the flavors of authentic home cooking. From baked and grilled to smoked, caramelized, and roasted, food makers can highlight the cooking methods they used and the rich flavor notes this provides.
Latin Americans’ love of spicy food is also set to continue throughout 2019. In Mexico alone, the hot sauce category is set to increase its market share to over 4% by 2022. Manufacturers can appeal to spice-seekers by offering a variety of flavors, such as jalapeño, green chili, and paprika.
But should manufacturers develop a yogurt with real jabuticaba fruit or a jabuticaba-flavored yogurt?
It all depends on the target consumer.
“To reach the ideal product, it is very important to understand the consumers and their needs, as well as understanding what they want as an authentic flavor,” Almeida told FoodNavigator-LATAM.
Irish ingredient giant Kerry Taste & Nutrition began operating in Latin America in 1993 in Mexico. Today, it is present in eight countries in the Latam region where it employs 2,100 individuals.