Using formal and grassroots market research tactics, Sensient Flavors, Hoffman Estates, Ill., has identified four influences — hybrid flavors, regional inspiration, creative sourcing and savory updates — and eight up-and-coming flavor trends for 2015.

Hybrid flavors, or unconventional flavor pairings, will remain popular through the year ahead, the company stated. Specifically, Sensient predicts the following two flavors will be on the rise:

  • Smoked Chantilly – Food menus continue to feature smoked, roasted, toasted and burnt flavors. Pairing this profile with vanilla- or brandy-infused Chantilly cream evokes a new level of interest by combining two unexpected, but harmonious flavors.
  • Maple mirch (mirchi) – The popularity of Indian cuisine is growing. Mirch, Hindi for chili pepper, brings spice and heat from India and it is combined with maple, a favorite in the Western world.

Consumers are also becoming more curious about regionally inspired flavors as they look to food as a gateway to the world’s cultures, according to Sensient. In 2015, the company  says regional flavor trends take their cues from the equator:

  • African blue basil – This variety has an unexpected flavor with anise undertones.
  • Falernum – This sweet syrup has hints of almond, ginger, cloves, lime, vanilla and allspice. It’s often paired with rum in Caribbean and tropical drinks, but it’s popping up in nonalcoholic beverages like coconut water and is expected to hit the food market in coming years.

Long winters and droughts are forcing manufacturers to consider alternative food sources and become more conscious of sustainable resources. Specifically, desert plants are rising in popularity:

  • Desert wildflowers – Though polarizing, floral flavors are on the rise for 2015, and the mild flavor of the desert wildflower makes it a popular pick that can be enjoyed by all.
  • Cascara tea – Commonly consumed in Bolivia (where it’s called sultana), cascara tea is made from the dried berries of the coffee plant and is often mixed with cinnamon.

Sensient says category-blurring flavor trends, which it dubs “Savory 2.0,” are popular. Savory updates on traditionally sweet applications are proving to be viable alternatives. This trend includes:

  • “Everything Bagel” spice blend – This versatile spice blend contains poppy seed, kosher salt, sweet onion, sugar, sesame seed, garlic, onion and fennel.
  •  Salted Satsuma – The addition of salt elevates this summertime favorite. Satsuma, a Japanese orange varietal, gained popularity in New Orleans in recent years.