For the basic consumer, it’s hard to figure out what the next big food trend will be. We’re pretty much at the mercy of big brands and what flavors they decide to bestow upon us. Maybe they’ll be really popular like the Naked Chicken Chalupa (only to later fizzle out) or maybe they’ll be openly panned like Peep-flavored Oreos (probably because they stain your tongue) or comically despised like McDonald’s Pumpkin Spice Fries. It seems like new, strange flavors are unleashed every week and the public just sits there with their mouths agape, waiting to see what’s next. But, where do flavors like Flaming Hot Cheetos and Lays Wasabi Ginger potato chips come from?
Well, in the case of Lays, they came from a contest. But, surprisingly, many strange flavor ideas come from Nielsen. No, not Leslie Nielsen, the silver-haired star of Airplane! and The Naked Gun (although, we would vote for this universe), this Nielsen is the same one that keeps track of how many viewers are watching your favorite shows. They also have a service called Nielsen Quick Screen, — in which consumer goods makers can test products to see if consumers would actually buy them.
Recently, Nielsen unveiled the new service by testing 25 different flavor concepts. These flavor ideas were gleaned from current food trends such as “celebrating multicultural flavors,” “portable protein,” “sweet and spicy together,” and… “coconut jerky.” That’s a thing? What a world!
Anyway, these are the flavor-snack combos that gained the highest scores from the participants.
Brown Sugar & Spicy BBQ Potato Chips
This flavor idea doesn’t seem too far-fetched. Brown sugar barbeque isn’t too different from regular barbeque chips. But the addition of the spicy flavors (whatever it is) is what makes this flavor a real draw. Plus everyone loves the spicy sweet thing right now, it’s hotter than Hansel.
Salsa Flavored Pita
Are flavored pitas a thing? Apparently, the people want a salsa-flavored pita for some reason. What would that even taste like? Subtle pepper, tomato, Mexican spices? What would you even put in the pita to pair with the salsa backbone? Something cheesy for sure.
Garlic & Lemon Flavored Pita
This flavor makes more sense for a pita. Especially if you are planning to use the pita to eat chicken (or gyro meat) and Tzatziki sauce. The garlic and lemon would probably mingle really well with those flavors.
Roasted Cauliflower Chips
The cauliflower-ification of America has begun. You can already get cauliflower buffalo wings, cauliflower rice, cauliflower pizza, and other cauliflower-based foods. It’s like if Forrest Gump’s friend Bubba was obsessed with Cauliflower instead of shrimp. Who knows what exactly a cauliflower chip is, but I’m sure we’re going to find out.
BBQ Chicken Chips
By chicken chips, they literally mean chips that are chicken-based. Not just chips with BBQ chicken flavoring. There is already a company making chicken chips and, if you haven’t already, you’ll probably start seeing them on shelves soon.
Lamb Feta Chips
Isn’t this already a flavor? We are imaging a chip flavored with a gyro meat and feta cheese. If done properly, this could be a really tasty chip. If it’s done wrong, it could be a nightmarishly, gross flavor.
[We tried a version recently and it skewed toward gross — ed]
We already use coconut for everything so why not chips? We use coconut milk in our coffee instead of regular milk, we use coconut oil instead of butter and soon we’ll be able to chow down on coconut chips. They might even be healthy for us.
Avocado & Black Bean Chips
Just like coconuts, avocados are one of the trendiest foods of the last few years. We already dip chips into guacamole, so why not just make chips out of avocado and black beans? It’s the circle of life.
Goat Meat Curry Chips
This one is a real mystery. We get the multicultural angle, but where did this flavor possibly come from and what are the odds we ever actually see this as a chip? Also, how do you make this chip without having the curry overpower all of the other flavors? In that case, you might as well just make a curry-flavored chip, do you need the goat meat too?
Pineapple Habanero Potato Chips
This is the epitome of sweet and spicy. Pineapple can be really sweet and habaneros can be downright devastating to your palate. Pairing the two together might make for the single greatest potato chip for thrill seekers since salt met vinegar. This feels like a win and it’s the one we’re banking on.
The odds are, none of these flavors will show up in any products until at least 2018. But, even though this is just a trend forecast (we know how wrong forecasts can be) there’s a pretty good chance a few of these flavors will burst upon the marketplace and one or two will really make an impact. People probably weren’t so sure about mixing sea salt into caramel not too long ago. Now we can’t imagine anything sweet without the salty emphasis.
Point being: The world changes, progress waits for no one, get ready for goat chips and taco pitas!