McCormick unveils annual flavor forecast as chilies top trends

Chile peppers top McCormick & Co. Inc's annual list of emerging food trends and flavors for 2014, the Sparks-based spice maker said Tuesday.

The flavoring company, marking its 125th year in business next year, unveiled an anniversary edition of its Flavor Forecast 2014, which each year highlights five top food trends and more than a dozen emerging flavors likely to influence the way consumers eat.

The forecast, first launched in 2000, helped kick off a planned yearlong "Flavor of Together" celebration.

An obsession with chiles is expected to be the biggest food trend in the coming year.

"Everywhere we looked, people have a growing fascination with the delicious range of flavors and heat chile peppers deliver," said Kevan Vetter, McCormick's executive chef.  "In the U.S., cooks are embracing exciting new varieties like the aji amarillo from Peru, which is prized for its sizzling heat and surprisingly full-bodied, fruity notes."

Here are the rest of the food trends:

- Modern Masala: Modern interpretations of traditional Indian food.

- Clever Compact Cooking: Cooks in urban kitchens are coaxing big flavor from small spaces.

- Mexican World Tour: People around the globe are making new discoveries about the casual cuisine.

- Charmed by Brazil: Brazilian cuisine is growing in popularity around the world.

And the top five flavors are:

- Aji Amarillo: A hot Peruvian yellow chile with bold, fruity flavor.

-Kashmiri Masala: The homemade blend of spices from northern India features cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves and ginger.

-Tea: The natural ingredient is now found in rubs, broths and marinades.

- Chamoy Sauce: A Mexican condiment — made from apricot, lime, chilies and spices — is gaining a following in the U.S.

-Cassava Flour:  It's a versatile Brazilian staple and gluten-free alternative, also known as manioc or tapioca flour.

McCormick, which has $4 billion in annual sales and develops flavors for food manufacturers and foodservice businesses,  launched its Flavor Forecast in conjunction with its yearlong "Flavor of Together" program. The company is asking consumers to share stories about connecting with others over flavor. The spice maker will donate $1 to United Way for every story shared on any of its websites or social channels, up to $1.25 million, with a goal of inspiring "passionate conversation about flavor."

 "Flavor has the power to bring us together across continents and cultures,"  McCormick CEO, Chairman and President Alan D. Wilson said in the announcement, noting that flavor at McCormick goes well beyond the spice rack.




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