Image courtesy of Osteria Mozza
Savory and tart flavors increasingly are popping up on menus as a way to offset the sweetness in desserts and baked foods, according to Mintel’s 2018 U.S. Flavor Trends report

“As diners often aim to strike a balance between health and indulgence, desserts are paired with flavors that temper their overall level of sweetness,” Mintel said. “While they may sound odd on paper, flavors like olive oil and vinegar are growing specifically as dessert flavors.”

Olive oil as a flavor in desserts grew 16% between 2015 and 2017. Vinegar also has started to climb as a dessert flavor, Mintel said. Fifteen per cent of consumers said they are interested in bakery items featuring savory flavors, such as rosemary olive oil cakes from Los Angeles-based Osteria Mozza or Cheerwine vinegar pie from Comfort restaurant in Richmond, Va.

The desire to diminish food waste also has led to more tart flavors appearing in desserts to balance sweetness.

“Chefs are increasingly creating housemade vinegars from fruit and vegetable scraps, turning food waste into tart, flavorful elixirs that they add to salads, mains, and even desserts,” Mintel said.

Flavors such as lemon and passion fruit increased on menus 9% and 15%, respectively, Mintel said, and the two are some of the top growing flavors according to Mintel Menu Insights.