Timeless Classics: Enduring Snack and Flavor Trends

September 24, 2014

For retailers, attempting to stay on top of the current trends in the snacking industry can be a tough challenge. With new flavor profiles seemingly becoming prominent every month, predicting what flavors consumers will enjoy next involves as much luck as it does consumer trend research.

However, some flavors prove to be immune to the changing snack landscape and continue to pop-up in new markets year after year. Below are a few of the “timeless classics” – snacks, candies and flavors that are continuously popular.


They recently came in at number 6 in Forbes’ 12 Hottest Food Trends for 2014 but nuts have never been out of style. They are a classic, enduring food trend for many main reasons.

  • Versatility: Nuts can be enjoyed whole, chopped or pasted; raw, roasted or toasted; and plain, flavored, or mixed.
  • Flavor: The variety of nuts and their flavors practically guarantees there is a favorite nut out there for everyone. Sweet hazelnuts frequently pair with chocolate and coffee while pine nuts .
  • Nutrition: So many studies have been published recently that is common knowledge. Nuts are good for your health.
  • Durability: When nuts are properly stored, they stay fresh without requiring added preservatives.

Plus, they are as easy to prepare as making a sandwich.



From chewing gum to rock candy, citrus has been a prominent flavor in candies for decades. With multiple cultures traditionally utilizing citrus flavors in many dishes, citrus is a flavor profile that is widely recognized and favored globally. Firmenich, the international producer of flavor chemicals, even selected lime as the 2013 Flavor of the Year.

Citrus is a complex and sophisticated flavor that can fit into many snack categories, even finding a home in the natural and healthy snack space. By integrating citrus flavors into healthier snack options such as energy blends and granola bars, snack manufacturers have succeeded in merging an old favorite with a new trend. It’s this type of easy integration that makes citrus one of the most favored flavors in the world.

Hot and Spicy

Spicy foods, popular in many eastern cultures for centuries, have seen steady growth in global popularity since 2009. For the first time, a majority of consumers (54%) even say they prefer hot and spicy sauces, dips and condiments to non-spicy flavors, up from 46% in 2009.

In Ancient Chinese culture, spiciness was considered to be a basic taste. With the rise in popularity of spicy chile sauces and pepper-infused cinnamon candies, spiciness is proving to be a flavor that won’t be going away anytime soon.

Salted Caramel

The first instances of caramel treats can be traced back to Arab culture over 1,000 years ago. Originally used as a hair product, caramel was discovered to be sweet and desirable and was quickly turned into a treat. Salted caramel is simply a new take on an old favorite.

“Salted caramel has been a hot flavor over the last couple of years and we still get requests,” says Jim Hamernik, director of research and development at Flavorchem. “I believe this is a marketing twist on an old flavor. There seems to be a trend to take an old concept and add a twist to make it new and exciting.”

Whether you’re enjoying homemade caramel candies or a salted caramel ice cream sundae, you can take solace in knowing that you’re enjoying a savory treat that has been, and will be, around for centuries.


Thought to be clean, cool and soothing to both the palette as well as the stomach, mint has been historically used as an after-meal refreshment for centuries. With the introduction of Lifesaver in 1912 and Junior Mints in 1949 mint started to transition into the candy favorite that we know it as today. Recently, mint has shown a resurgence in interest with the rising trend of flavor infusions. With ginger mint candies and cucumber mint sodas becoming more popular by the day, don’t expect mint to go anywhere for the foreseeable future.

Timeless yet New

While the above trends may be classics, their new applications are anything but traditional. By finding innovative ways to utilize old-time standards, snack manufacturers are creating tastes that are both familiar yet enticing.

Tags: flavor, nuts, trends

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