America’s taste for sour flavor feeds food industry

Mark Garrison Jun 20, 2013
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America’s taste for sour flavor feeds food industry

Mark Garrison Jun 20, 2013
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Our national hunger for salty and sweet flavors feeds a massive junk food industry.

But there’s a whole different taste currently driving the business of what we eat. Sour foods and flavors are riding high at the moment, and our growing desire for them is changing the food industry.

Companies are cashing in. In 2007, Greek yogurt was a crunchy co-op item, with 1 percent market share.

Now it’s all over grocery store shelves, with more than a third of the market. The second fastest growing beer style: Belgian sour, up 31 percent.

“We’ve seen people willing to go to extremes with hot and spicy. Let’s see how far we can get them to go with sour.”

– Mary Chapman, food consultant

More sour is the next step in our appetite for bigger, bolder flavors.  Demand is growing much like hot and spicy flavors soared before. Sour foods are also booming because they’re the opposite of sugary foods and perceived to be healthy.

In addition, sour and fermented flavors are reaching more Americans as global cuisine — particularly certain Asian foods — move into the U.S. mainstream. Americans should pucker up. More sour foods and bigger sour flavors are on the way.


In addition to this Marketplace audio report, Mark Garrison also reported a companion story you can read at Slate.

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