American cuisine could be called adrenaline cuisine, as food companies rev up their flavorings and spices to appeal to expanding palates, reports Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal. PepsiCo Inc.'s Frito-Lay introduced Doritos chips labeled First-, Second- and Third-Degree Burn, made with jalapeno, buffalo and habanero flavors. Another variety, Sweet and spicy Doritos is an Asian-inspired product with soy, garlic and ginger flavors. Asian influences have led to products made with umami, the savory flavor in protein-rich foods and considered one of the five basic tastes (along with sweet, sour, salty and bitter.) Umami translates roughly as "good flavor," and provides an explosion of flavor in foods. Browned-butter flavor, formulated to taste deeper and more savory, is increasingly replacing regular butter-flavor in product formulations, according to International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF).
Americans now keep an average of 40 different spices, twice as many in the past two decades, according to McCormick & Co. Inc. McCormick's Top 10-selling spices 30 years ago included: black pepper, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmet, cloves, allspice, ginger, ground mustard, celery seed and lemon extract. Today' Top 10 include: Black pepper, vanilla extract, cinnamon, sea-salt grinder. Black-pepper grinder, garlic powser, chili powder, oregano, red pepper, and cumin.McCormick now counts sea-salt, smoked paprika, roasted garlic and dried lemongrass among the flavors in its typical grocery-store offerings. Asian and Caribbean spices, blends and marinades have been the focus of recent roll-outs, and the company is predicting strong Indian spices will be big within the next five years.Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. uses Micro-Bursts, a new technology using textured crystals to deliver a more intense flavor to its Orbit Mist gum, and new sweeteners to make flavors last longer. And Dr Pepper Snapple developed its new Dr Pepper Cherry soda by testing 30 different cherry profiles with consumers on a nine-point scale called JAR, which translates to "just about right."