As a global leader in flavour, with a family of brands in 100 countries, McCormick has been on the forefront of identifying emerging culinary trends with its signature Flavour Forecast® and since 2000, this annual report has played a distinctive role in shaping the future of flavour.

An extension of McCormick’s leadership in the food industry, the release of each Flavour Forecast® is highly anticipated, acting as a catalyst for innovation among food manufacturers and foodservice professionals alike. Flavours showcased in past reports have moved once-edgy ingredients into mainstream popularity. One example of this is ‘Chipotle’. When Chipotle was highlighted in the Flavour Forecast® 2003, most consumers weren’t aware of this chilli, or even how to pronounce it. Now, it is a very familiar flavour in many supermarket products including prepared foods, sauces, savoury snacks and even chocolate! And in Foodservice, Chipotle can now be found on menus everywhere, from fast food outlets to upmarket restaurants; there’s even a high street fast food operator with this name!

New this year, McCormick’s Flavour Forecast® takes a global view and pinpoints the cutting-edge trends and flavours that are driving the spirit of discovery around the world, from cuisines on the verge of widespread appeal, to ingredients with the potential to alter the culinary landscape several years from now.

Developing the Flavour Forecast® involves a year-long process of culinary exploration, data discovery and insight development. An international group of McCormick experts; including chefs, sensory scientists, trend trackers and food technologists, have collaborated to identify the trends and flavours highlighted in this annual effort. During a rigorous vetting process, the Flavour Forecast® team held a global summit to establish possible themes, pooling insights and expertise from McCormick’s regional locations, spanning Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa, Latin America and North America.

For the Flavour Forecast® 2012, this global exploration process revealed a surprising finding: food lovers around the world have more in common than we ever imagined. The forces driving food choices are strikingly similar from region to region, even though the specific flavours and ingredients we enjoy remain uniquely rooted in our local cultures.  In the spirit of showcasing similarities while celebrating differences, the Flavour Forecast® 2012 highlights 6 globally relevant themes, brought to life through 12 regional flavour combinations:


Flavourful Swaps

In the quest for personal well-being, small changes can add up to big results. Simple, swaps can help us make consistently better choices for the mind, body and soul, without sacrificing enjoyment. Balancing an appetite for bold flavour with a hunger for good health is key to achieving wellness goals, one delicious taste at a time. Herbs and spices are a great way to add flavour and improve taste with less fat, salt and sugar. Flavour combinations: Red Tea with Cinnamon and Plum; Grapefruit with Red Pepper

Honouring Roots

Celebrating the origins of a cuisine, be it an ingredient combination, signature dish or cooking method, is a renewed global priority. As cultures evolve, preserving the integrity of regional flavours is crucial to honouring their heritage, even as lifestyles continue to change. Chefs inspired by foundational flavours and cooking styles are applying a fresh perspective that balances modern tastes and cultural authenticity. Flavour combinations: Korean Pepper Paste, Sesame, Asian Pear and Garlic; Cumin and Sofrito

Quest for the Ultimate

For flavour fanatics, what satisfied yesterday will not do for tomorrow. Those searching for the pinnacle of fulfilment in food are on an endless quest to achieve ever-greater sensory heights. For some, the “ultimate” might equal superlative quality; for others, it is about a patchwork of textures, colours and layers of enjoyment. Culinary explorers are seeking combinations that create powerful, harmonic bursts of elemental flavours, be it zesty, refreshing, umami or pungent, for the ultimate taste experience. In constant evolution, this trend is continually fuelled by new global discoveries. Flavour combinations: Dill, Mint, Melon and Cucumber; Meyer Lemon, Lemon Thyme, Limoncello and Lemon Peel

Veggies in Vogue

Veggies have long been saddled with second-class citizen status, suffering from overcooking, over saucing and lack of inspiration. Those days are finally over, thanks to the enthusiasm of chefs, the quality of seasonal produce and the unstoppable growth of fresh markets. Dressed using new cooking techniques and inventive bursts of flavour, it’s finally the veggies’ time to shine. Flavour combinations: Aubergine, Honey and Harissa; Squash, Red Curry and Pancetta

Simplicity Shines

The most memorable food is often the simplest. As cooks focus more on highlighting quality ingredients with simple preparations, they are moving away from complex presentations and flashy innovations. Clear, unpretentious flavours celebrate the basics and remind us what real food tastes like. Flavour combinations: Ginger and Coconut; Vanilla and Butter

No Boundaries

Culinary trail-blazers are cooking ‘outside the lines’ by discovering, reinventing and even playing with food. We now have the freedom to explore and enjoy whatever foods we want, whenever we want to. Blending inspirations and shedding the confines of traditional “rules” leads to a renewed permission to have fun. From shaking up meal times to packing the flavour of a whole dish into a single bite, we are guided by a single, simple mantra: “Anything goes…” Flavour combinations: Blueberry, Cardamom and Corn Masa; Sweet Soy, Tamarind and Black Pepper  

As the art and science of flavour continues to evolve, McCormick, through the Flavour Forecast®, will continue to lead the way, shaping the tastes and food experiences of the future; a hallmark of our passion for flavour.

For the full 2012 report and to download a full range of images and recipes, go to

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