Old-school New Year’s resolutions are so 2023. 2024 is here, ushering in a new wave of big, bold flavor resolutions for sauce companies, foodservice operators, and retailers alike. From gochujang hot honey drizzle to antioxidant-packed sauces and dips, today’s consumers are resolving to expand their culinary horizons well beyond the expected.
What does that mean for your business? First things first: The culinary marketplace gets hotter and more competitive every year, and it’s never been more important to keep up with evolving trends. The dining landscape is also changing dramatically. Diners are shifting toward more affordable midday menu offerings in lieu of large social dinners; they’re also opting for more takeout and drive-thru options instead of dine-in or delivery service. To succeed in 2024, sauce creators must be nimble and on-trend, whether that means spicing up an LTO campaign or formulating a sauce with specially-designed drive-thru packaging.
Luckily, we’ve crunched the numbers so you don’t have to. Our 2024 Sauce Scoop trend report rounds up consumers’ trending tastes, including turbo-charged traditional flavors, exciting global experiences, fun and funky snacks, and functional foods for lifelong wellness. Want to start off the New Year on top of the trends? Read on for more information on this year’s most exciting flavors.
This year, everything old really is new again. Consumers are hungry for simple standbys . . . with a twist. Think zingy chipotle ketchup or spicy ranch formulated for creamy heat (Datassential 2023).
Foodies are also excited about non-traditional uses of simple ingredients. And when we say “nontraditional,” we mean it: Picture tomatoes in desserts, pepper-infused drinks, and fermented black garlic. With that in mind, cutting-edge sauce companies will likely move toward products like tomato jam, known for its sweet, earthy, and savory overtones complemented by a touch of natural acidity.
From pomegranate hot honey to coffee-infused caramel, one thing is clear: If you want to stay competitive in today’s sauce market, experimentation is everything.
Speaking of experimentation: 43% of adults are interested in international flavors, and many want to keep experimenting with new ones (Mintel 2023). The National Restaurant Association (NRA) list of 2024 hot trends is dominated by global dishes like international barbecue options, stews like birria and upscale ramen, and chicken wings with zesty global flavors. That list also includes trending spices like tajín, which is traditionally made from salt, dehydrated lime juice, chile peppers, and garlic. Pandan, a powdered Asian leaf, also made the list thanks to its inviting hints of rose, almond, and vanilla.
What does this mean for the sauce scoop? First and foremost, consumers care about where their ingredients come from, and broad-name dishes – “Asian chicken wings,” for example – are out. Instead, consumers want to see dishes’ origins called out on a highly specific basis. Think “Haitian honey stew” or “Senegalese-style chicken.” The more regionally specific, the better.
Not sure how to incorporate global flavors into your sauces? Limited-time offers (LTOs) are a great way to test new concepts, and we’re happy to serve as your custom sauce formulator to take your recipes to the next level. Whether you’re leaning into a sour-sweet honey yuzu vinaigrette or a mouthwatering, savory birria crema, you’ll be glad you took your customers on an international journey.
The term “rat snack” probably doesn’t mean what you think it means – at least, not on TikTok. Throughout late 2023, Gen Z and millennial TikTok creators showcased their own indulgent snacking style – affectionately known as “rat snacks”.
The trend centers around combining everyday ingredients to create unexpectedly delicious snacks. From salsa-covered crackers to cheese puffs dipped in yogurt, young consumers are all about messy, joyful snacking.
This kind of new age snacking, coupled with concepts like Girl Dinner, a method of making meals exclusively with snack foods, is not going away anytime soon. Consumers are shifting eating occasions to suit their schedules and preferences, and throwing societal norms to the wind.
Why not embrace the joyful mess with your sauces? Encourage your customers to drizzle brown butter chocolate sauce on apple slices, or offer spicy chili crisp aioli as a tasty dip. If it’s fun, easy, and accessible, it’s bound to appeal to the snacking masses.
Yes, plenty of today’s consumers are all about wacky, indulgent snacks – but a separate subset of foodies is also seeking out functionality in everyday foods. In fact, 54% of consumers say health claims on products range from very important to extremely important (Kantar/Mintel 2023).
Here’s the exciting part: Health-conscious snackers want a nutritious boost without having to forgo flavor or experience. Sauces are perfectly primed to tap into that desire for functionality. Sauce companies can add probiotic-rich kimchi to a creamy aioli, offering gut-healthy benefits on top of irresistible flavor. Meanwhile, an antioxidant-rich fruit glaze might be the perfect pairing for customers’ indulgent baked goods. For today’s consumer, it’s all about balance. Sauces are the perfect way to deliver on that.
Ready to take on the new year? Today’s foodies are ready to be titillated by trending flavors. By partnering with a private label sauce manufacturer like Giraffe Foods, you can get ahead of 2024 trends to create something truly unforgettable.
Our culinary experts work with you every step of the way, taking you from ideation to creation. We’re not just authoritative; we’re obsessive, using data-driven research to track consumers’ ever-evolving taste buds. To find out more about the 2024 sauce scoop – or for the chance to secure an exclusive 2024 Sauce Scoop mailer filled with trending sauces and ideas – contact our in-house experts today.
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