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Spicy: The Ever-Evolving Flavor

February 2017 | Allison, Trend Analyst

Spicy is a flavor that keeps coming back again and again, but is constantly evolving from one form to another. Everyone wants to know: what’s the next spicy? With input from McCormick’s team of chefs, trend trackers and food technologists, let’s take a look back at the evolution of spicy trends with a journey through recent Flavor Forecast®

Flavor Forecast 2014: Chilies Obsession

The world is craving heat in a big way. Beyond just discovering new chile varieties, this obsession has extended into using techniques like grilling, smoking, pickling, fermenting and candying to tease out their flavor potential.

Featured flavors:

  • Guajillo – Mild Mexican dried chile
  • TienTsin – Hot Sichuan chile
  • Aji Amarillo – Hot Peruvian yellow chile
  • Chile de Arbol – Bold Mexican chile

Flavor Forecast 2015: Global Blends on the Move

While 2014 focused on the spiciness of chilies themselves, 2015 took the next step by exploring spicy global blends that deliver both heat and flavor.

Featured flavors:

  • Japanese 7 Spice (Shichimi Togarashi) – A pungent combination of chilies, sesame, orange zest, nori and more
  • Shawarma Spice Blend – A Middle Eastern street food favorite made with cumin, cinnamon, black pepper and more

Flavor Forecast 2016: Heat + Tang

Just being spicy wasn’t enough for 2016! Spicy found a welcome contrast with tangy accents—lime, rice vinegar, yuzu, tamarind, Meyer lemon, cranberry, kumquats and ponzu—to elevate the eating experience.

Featured flavors:

  • Peruvian Chilies + Lime: Citrus paired with rocoto, ají panca, ají amarillo and more 
  • Sambal Sauce: Spicy Southeast Asian sauce made with chilies, rice vinegar, sugar and garlic

Flavor Forecast 2017: Sweet on Pepper

Diametrically opposed, or a match made in heaven? This year we are bringing the spicy trend back to its roots with a celebration of classic pepper. Its tongue-tingling, bold edge is tempered by naturally sweet ingredients like syrups and exotic fruits. After hiding in plain sight for so many years, pepper is finally capturing the spotlight. Its up-front bite and lingering sensation offer the next wave of spicy flavor.

Featured flavors:

  • Pepper + Date Syrup
  • Pepper + Dragon Fruit
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