KerryDigest Fast Facts:
- Chicken is the most popular meat amongst consumers worldwide.
- Preferred chicken flavours and tonalities vary by region, although they currently fall under three general categories.
- Our global experts share flavour insights to help inspire chicken product innovation.
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KerryDigest Full Scoop:
Around the world, chicken is a familiar staple across restaurant menus and retail locations. For 2020, the forecast for global chicken meat production is 100 million tonnes, according to a new report from the United States Department of Agriculture, making chicken the most consumed meat worldwide. However, consumer preferences related to chicken taste and preparation vary widely by geographic location. To help your next chicken product stand out, our global team of experts reports on chicken flavour trends around the world, highlighting opportunities by region.
1. Chicken flavours with international origins
Consumers are hoping to travel with their taste buds, especially in the wake of COVID-19. Through regionally-inspired authentic chicken dishes, consumers can experience new spices, blends and flavours.
Europe: We’re seeing consumers crave American taste experiences in their chicken, with concepts such as Southern fried chicken and hot chicken resonating. Indian cuisine has also influenced popular flavours in Europe, with curry and biryani showing up as up-and-coming tastes in the region’s 2020 Taste Charts.
North America: According to Mintel’s 2020 Embrace Chicken’s Dark Side report, nearly a third of consumers are interested in trying internationally-inspired poultry options. Top contenders include flavors inspired by ingredients and preparations from Latin America (chimichurri, salsa verde), Korea (gochuchang, Korean BBQ), India (tikka masala, butter chicken) and Africa (peri peri, harissa). Combining these globally-inspired flavours with dark chicken meat can help consumers explore different ingredients and venture into different cuts of meat, such as chicken thighs instead of the American-preferred chicken breast.
APMEA: The recent KerryDigest article about Asian food trends showed how social media has helped popular regional flavours spread throughout Asia (and beyond). Korean flavours such as gochujang and Korean BBQ are influencing trends in Southeast Asia and Australia, and Korean food is now trending more than Japanese food in Hong Kong.
LATAM: Consumers in Latin America are seeking out unprocessed chicken bursting with flavour. According to Mintel’s Meat and Poultry: Processed, Non-processed and Alternatives – Brazil report, the chicken segment can expand with indulgent and geo-based flavours. For example, we see chicken paired with flavours like saffron, coriander and sriracha in Latin America.
Brands looking to create regionally-inspired chicken products can utilise taste solutions such as fermentation to deliver on umami and kokumi notes or add herb and spice extracts for authentic, fresh taste.
2. Chicken flavours that harken nostalgic and comfort food classics
Amid COVID-19, consumers are returning to nostalgic flavours and comfort foods. However, they’re still looking for elevated flavour experiences, such as products that put a more premium spin on childhood favourites like chicken nuggets and chicken tenders with umami and kokumi notes.
Europe: Consumers want to recreate nostalgic foodservice experiences at home with favourite key and mainstream flavours such as peri peri and curry. Fish and chip-inspired flavours also resonate with consumers that are looking for comfort from to-go foodservice orders, delivery or home cooking.
North America: Throughout COVID-19, consumers have returned to dishes they love and know. Pairing simple formats like nuggets and tenders with an elevated dipping sauce is one way consumers can reminisce on simpler times—including childhood—and find comfort while still trying more adventurous flavours.
APMEA: Consumers here, too, are looking to recreate childhood memories such as eating their favourite Asian street food. Incorporating street food spices and flavours into a chicken dish can drum up an emotional connection for the consumer.
LATAM: According to Mintel, “comfort food,” doesn’t actually translate in Spanish or Portuguese, but the general idea still resonates with consumers in Latin America. The rich flavors of home-style meals bring back childhood memories. Prepared meals with chicken can often be enhanced with a chicken stock or broth; herbal and savoury flavours can create an authentic homemade eating experience.
Brands that want to create nostalgic and comfort food-inspired chicken concepts can utilise cooking method flavours and dairy flavours—which can add creamy, rich notes—as a way to bring consumers back to comfort food.
3. Chicken flavours that deliver authentic, home-cooked taste
Consumers want to recreate traditional cooking methods at home and have those same taste experiences when dining out. With busy schedules—and sometimes a lack of cooking skills or knowledge—consumers also want those authentic experiences without the hassle. Chicken products and menu items with callouts such as “smoked,” “roasted” and “grilled” resonate with consumers who desire authentically prepared chicken dishes.
Europe: Smoke is a popular flavour for savuory applications, with flavour attributes such as applewood, hickory and cherrywood up-and-coming. Adding smoky flavours to chicken creates the authentic, slow-cooked flavour consumers desire.
North America: In foodservice, menu callouts such as “grilled,” “blackened,” “pulled” and “battered” have become quite popular, according to Datassential. Consumers can try those authentic cooking methods when ordering food to-go or dining in, and operators can list the method on menu items to help consumers choose.
APMEA: Throughout the region, flavours such as smoke, roasted and grilled are all key flavours for savoury foods. These distinct tastes can be applied to chicken preparations available in retail and foodservice.
LATAM: Consumers in Latin America are also drawn to cooking method flavours such as barbecued, roasted and smoked. These can be combined with other flavours to deliver unique, multi-dimensional taste experiences.
Brands that aim to create chicken concepts with authentic preparation methods can leverage cooking method flavours such as smoked, grilled and roasted deliver memorable and authentic taste experiences.
Finding an authentic chicken profile that emulates the original source, such as dark meat or chicken skin, can be challenging. Starting with a stock or broth as a base can bring out great taste. In 2018 and 2019, Kerry invested in its stock and broth capabilities by acquiring two companies that specialize in chicken broth. We leverage our best-in-class stock and broth capabilities to craft our authentic chicken flavours, resulting in a variety of consumer-preferred chicken tonalities. From dark meat, to fatty/skin, to roasted, grilled or boiled, we’re able to help you develop true chicken flavour in your products. Contact us to start innovating with chicken and other savory flavors; for more trends to consider, download our most recent chicken flavours report.