A Generation of Food Travelers

Think about that last trip you went on. What is it you remember most?

For many of us, this is an easy answer: the food.

While stunning vistas can take our breath away, nothing engages all of the senses like trying the cuisines of other cultures.

The depth of flavour, inviting or interesting aromas, new and exciting textures, and ingredients you never knew existed blending together in experiences that a postcard, keychain, or social post could never do justice to.

Research from Innova Market Insights found that over half of consumers said that they incorporate foods and flavours they ate while travelling into their home cooking, and even more are open to trying new cuisines from around the world.

Yet, according to Jessa Friedrich, Edlong’s Director of Marketing, increased travel isn’t the only thing driving this demand for exotic and international flavours. “Food tourism is becoming more popular with travelers seeking out authentic culinary experiences, there are a lot of drivers behind consumer interest in these new flavours. A lot of it is coming from younger generations and the influence of social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram.”


She continues, “By showcasing visually appealing dishes from around the world, the content from these apps is inspiring consumers to experiment with new flavours and ingredients. It also helps that younger consumers tend to pride themselves on culturally aware and open to trying new and exciting things.”

In a recent article, I looked at how this exploration of culture through cuisine influences us as developers; now, I want to look at the influence and impact this is making on consumers.

An International Generation

Although not the only demographic eager to traverse the world through flavour, Gen Z seems to be leading the charge for various reasons.

In addition to, or maybe as a byproduct of, being the first fully “digital” generation, they might also be the first “international” generation. With concerns and interests often extending well beyond their local borders, international flavours can address more than just new taste experiences.


“We talk a lot about how younger shoppers value their personal health and wellness, but this also extends to the health of the planet. They tend to place more emphasis on sustainability and ethical sourcing of their foods,” Friedrich notes.

We can see this as a catalyst behind one of Innova’s Top Trends of 2024: Local Goes Global, where developers can strike the balance of providing adventurous taste experiences while featuring local ingredients.

Friedrich adds how Gen Z’s views can also impact the plant-based space, “This could be why we see a larger number of young people showing interest in plant-based or flexitarian products. Plant-based and vegetarian foods might be more prevalent in other cultures and cuisines, allowing them to better align their choices with their values. Not to mention finding flavorful and nutritious alternatives to traditional meat-centric dishes.”

International flavours and dishes could be a winning recipe for improving or increasing your plant-based offerings.

Still, whether a dish is fully vegan or centered around animal-derived ingredients, the new limitless options of authentic or fusion cuisine can be what wins consumers over.

Taking full advantage of this comes from deeply understanding one of our other Top Flavour Trends for 2024, “Perfect Pairings”.

Finding Your Flavour– Perfect Pairings

Part of what makes travelling with your taste buds so exciting is experiencing the symphony of flavour pairings each unique cuisine has to offer.

As part of a recent talk at the Research Chef’s Association Expo, Edlong’s Global Sensory Manager, Julie Drainville, elaborated on some of the theories about how and why certain cultures choose these pairings.

“There are two basic types of theories that try to make sense of why foods pair well together: perceptual and cognitive. Flavor Networking, an example of a perceptual theory, aims to link foods used in recipes by the chemical compounds in their ingredients. Researchers analyzed over 55,000 global recipes and interestingly they found that while North American and European cuisines statistically exhibit a tendency towards ingredients that share flavour compounds.


However, with East Asian and Southern European cuisines tending to avoid recipes with compound sharing ingredients some believe this disproves aromatic similarity theory.”

Speaking on cognitive approaches, she explains, “Cognitive theories are centered around cultural and geographical matches. It’s the belief that pairing foods together is more likely to be a result of recipes passed down in your family, or the use of ingredients that are in season and local to your environment.”

Regardless of the cause, consumers’ willingness to explore these flavours is expanding their expectations for different tastes. For example, it’s not unusual for Western consumers to now look to soy sauce and miso to define umami or ingredients like sriracha and kimchi as their standard for spicy and tangy.

The number of exciting profiles and pairings these ingredients can create is nearly endless.

A few examples could include:

  • Soy Sauce & Honey
  • Miso & Ginger
  • Sriracha & Lime
  • Kimchi & Avocado
  • Turmeric & Coconut


Though perfect for snacks or on-the-go meals, one shouldn’t forget about incorporating these combinations in dairy and alternative dairy products.

This adds another dimension to your product by carrying and balancing flavours while also adding its characteristic creamy, rich indulgence.

While it is great in savoury and spicy dishes, we must also mention the opportunity for sweetness with complexity. Think turmeric, coconut and vanilla ice cream or soy & honey butter.

With all of these possible profiles and applications, it’s an exciting time for developers in the food industry and their consumers!

The only thing that might be better than travelling the world through international flavours is an international flavour partner to help you make it happen.

Embark on your development journey with our global team of flavour experts today.

About the Author: Emily Sheehan, Applications Manager, EMEA

Hi! I’m Emily Sheehan. I’m the Applications Manager, EMEA at Edlong, and my job is rooted in creating exciting new possibilities for our people and processes. It’s inspiring to reflect on how much Edlong has achieved and even more amazing to be involved in such thoughtful innovation. We enjoy pushing boundaries in food and flavour, and we welcome everyone in the food industry to join us. If you’re in need of expertise or inspiration, I’d love to collaborate and help you design flavour solutions that resonate with consumers!

Topics: Dairy flavorsInnovation
Resource Type: Article
Resource Region: EULATAMUS


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