The holiday season is upon us. In days of yore, children dreamed of sugar plums. But in 2014, consumers young and old, human and canine, dream of more contemporary confections.
Many holiday food products now in stores are limited edition and are only on shelves for the holiday season. And a good many of these products could inspire future line extensions in the products you will develop.
So, in honor of food formulators who hope to fulfill all those dreams of holiday feasting, I’ve created a menu using international, holiday-themed food items available this year. Pull up a chair, and dig in!
Start your day with a Wassail flavored fruit juice (USA). Limited holiday editions of yogurt were globally popular, as seen with the chocolate chestnut (EU) yogurt, spotted in Austria, and Christmas-pudding-flavored yogurt in the UK. If you prefer your breakfast a bit sweeter, consider a sugar cookie toaster pastry washed down with snicker doodle latte (USA).
Warm a turkey, bacon and cranberry filled puff pastry (UK) to start off your lunch break, accompanied by pumpkin (EU) cranberry (EU) tortilla chips, cranberry sage (EU) wheat crackers (USA), or consommé-flavored potato chips (Japan). If you prefer a healthier side, also spotted in the USA were cranberry orange kale (EU) chips.
The main holiday meal is almost always centered on tradition. While the main course offers little room for deviation from the norm, the side dish options can be more creative!
Begin your meal with a winter vegetable soup, made of carrots, potato, zucchini and pumpkin (Italy). If members of the family have gluten concerns, I found a prepared stuffing made of millet (EU), turnip greens, chard (EU) and kale (USA). An interesting side dish might be pumpkin gnocchi, spotted in Germany.
While fruitcake has a polarizing effect in some areas of the globe, many other desserts have made their way to the holiday market. Consider some of the following products: eggnog (EU)-flavored cream puffs (USA); spiced fudge (EU) flavored with raisins and candied cherries (UK); Christmas-pudding-flavored biscuits (Singapore); fruit mince pies (Australia); and peppermint (EU) bark flavored ice cream bars (Canada).
For something light, consider a specialty tea in caramel apple (EU), gingerbread (EU) or sugarplum flavor (USA). Eggnog regularly makes an appearance, but this year varieties include chocolate and pumpkin spice (EU) flavors (USA). Special Christmas beers are available in Norway, USA, Denmark, France and Spain, while mulled wine has been spotted in Germany and the UK, and spiced Cognac (EU) has been seen in Sweden. Julmust, a traditional Swedish holiday soft drink, has returned this holiday season on a global scale, making an appearance in Ikea’s® food market.
Canine A la Carte
Fido isn’t left out this year. Dog treats made of pumpkin granola, coated in vanilla greek yogurt were spotted in Canada, alongside the stockings filled with puppy toys. Doggy mince pies, as well as turkey-cranberry flavored bones are available for the family dog in the UK, and Christmas-tree-shaped dog snacks were spotted in Chile.
A Final Note on Holiday Entertaining
Price Waterhouse Cooper presented compelling information on the US 2014 Holiday outlook and potential for food sales; “Shoppers recognize that experiences are beginning to count just as much, or more, than gifts. Holiday family get-togethers and family occasions will continue to grow in importance.” Americans are expected to return to entertaining in the home, with an increase in spontaneous get-together parties at home.
I hope that some of these flavor ideas inspire you to create seasonal items in your product development portfolio.
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