Snack flavors in America inspired by Asian countries
Adobo focuses on vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic as a marinade and cooking sauce for meats.
Snack flavor ideas are coming in from Asia. Heat continues to trend, but some countries, like Vietnam and the Philippines, also offer flavors centered around balance.
“The flavors of Vietnamese dishes tend to be very well balanced,” says Roger Lane, marketing manager, savory flavors at Sensient Flavors, Hoffman Estates, Ill. “The people of Vietnam take balance very seriously, and this applies to their cuisine as well. The majority of dishes include all five taste elements: spicy, sour, bitter, salty and sweet.”
Pho and its blend of savory, spice notes and herbs translate well into snacks, especially in peanuts or lighter snacks like popcorn or rice crackers, he said. Banh mi sandwiches also work in a snack format, he says.
“Again, it’s the combination of savory pate and other meats, tangy slaw and fresh herbs that balance together so well across the snack platform,” Mr. Lane says. “Even the simple combination of herbs like cilantro and a sour note from vinegar and maybe the heat of jalapeño would be enough to evoke the flavors of the dish.”
An article that appeared June 1 in Vogue carried the title “How Filipino food is becoming the next great American cuisine.” Spanish, Western, Chinese, Japanese and Pacific Island flavors all have contributed to the country’s cuisine, according to the article.
Mr. Lane says Filipino food tends to be balanced across salty, sweet and sour. Adobo focuses on vinegar, soy sauce and garlic as a marinade and cooking sauce for meats. Pancit is another Filipino flavor consideration.
“While there are many regional variations on the dish, they all typically include noodles, vegetables and meat, with shrimp and pork being the most popular,” Mr. Lane says. “Seasonings include garlic, soy sauce and pungent fish sauce.”
Other Asian countries are contributing as well. Tastes originating in India, Thailand, Japan and Korea are impacting snack flavors, says Lacey Eckert, market development specialist for Kalsec, Inc., Kalamazoo, Mich. The flavors include various types of curry, sriracha, ginger, wasabi, teriyaki, soy sauce and Korean BBQ.
“With the continuation of the hot and spicy trend, expect to see more Asian-inspired spicy flavors, such as sambal and gochujang, emerge in the snack category,” she says.
Consumers are being introduced to Japanese cuisine beyond sushi and teriyaki, says Jean Shieh, marketing manager for Sensient Natural Ingredients, Turlock, Calif. Meat, fish, dairy products, mushrooms, tomatoes and other vegetables may be used to achieve a savory umami taste. Vegetable-based umami works well as a topical seasoning for snacks.
“Not only does it have a flavor profile that resonates well with foodies everywhere, the clean label ingredients also help position a product above those containing artificial ingredients,” Ms. Shieh says.