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Postcards from the Bench

TRENDING: PERSONALIZED NUTRITION

March 2018 | TERI, DIRECTOR OF INNOVATION

Today’s consumer is label literate—and unlike many food trends, this one spans generations. With younger Gen-Zs and millennials as equally attuned as aging baby boomers, it’s likely that clean labeling will become the industry standard going forward.

For younger consumers, this change in eating habits likely comes from conscious choices, personal research and information shared through social media channels. For many older adults, it's more medically based, perhaps because of elevated blood pressure, blood sugar or other health concerns such as aging. Either way, the reasons for seeking nutritional information are entirely personal and extend beyond physical health. Not only do they know how to decipher the fine print on the back of the package, but they want to know how the food they have chosen directly benefits their lives and the world they live in.

Personal Nutrition

In many cases, the need for personalized nutrition isn’t for the purchasers themselves, but for a member of the household. It’s a major challenge when someone has to cook dinner for an entire family when one member has an allergy or a health concern. How do we develop foods that are good for you, and delicious for the entire family? How do we redefine these products so that they’re not just “good enough for health food,” but good enough for health and taste delicious?

As the Director of Innovation at McCormick Flavor Solutions, this need for personalized nutrition has been a driving force behind our work over the past few years. We are continually working in our labs and kitchens, developing new foods with new ingredients focused on healthy solutions, assessing new technologies and ingredients that help mask off-notes from plant proteins for instance. We also test new ingredients that help keep full and delicious flavor when reducing sodium, fat or sugar. It keeps our teams on the cutting edge of what's next and perfecting solutions to tomorrow's problems.

A great example of a product that many consumers of all ages and lifestyles have turned to as an ingredient for personalized nutrition is protein drinks. This has been a staple product in the health and wellness category for decades, but they haven’t always been known for flavor appeal. Some have a chalky texture many find unpalatable, some have the texture down pat but need to sacrifice some nutritional additives to get there. Then there’s the constant conundrum of the base flavor of a nutritionally loaded shake not always tasting so great. So covering up these off-notes is paramount to satisfy customers.

So we set out to create a model system solely for internal study, dissecting all the problematic elements and perfecting different methods of troubleshooting solutions. Then on that day when a company reaches out to us looking to develop or overhaul a protein shake product, we’ve already done the heavy lifting.

Since my team assesses new foods, beverages, and ingredients in the market, we can apply flavor solutions and ingredients that address taste, mouth-feel even texture improvements. Since we create food models, templates of new food in the market, we enable flavor solution transformations more easily for our scientists and chefs. In turn, our scientists quickly apply flavor solutions for our customers. For more information on our flavor innovations, contact your McCormick account representative or contact us today.

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