Firing Up Flavours in 2022

Culinary history has unearthed some Masters of Flavour – Keith Floyd, Anne-Sophie Pic, Anthony Bourdain, Heston Blumenthal, Willy Wonker – and, of course, our very own Head Chef, Darren Strickland!  Here, Darren shares his thoughts on what’s hot and what’s not on the flavour front this year….from British Classic dishes to Popcorn explosions, we’ve got the flavour flave in 2022.

Comforting Classics

Last year was a bit of an oddity for our industry.  Business owners and chefs were distracted from trying new flavour combos and dishes by trying to concentrate on surviving the pandemic!  We’ve all honed our survival skills just ever so slightly, and from a business perspective it pays to be marginally cautious in these times, and Darren expects to see the status quo upheld with a focus on what we already know – the British Classics. 

And there’s nothing wrong with treading the path most tread sometimes – it’s comforting, reassuring, homely, and heartening – just what we need in turbulent times.  Darren thinks it’s about time there’s a revival of British Classic dishes, his secret love!  From the Full English breakfast, roast dinners, and fish and chips, to Spotted Dick, Jam Roly-Poly and Trifle; these are the dishes he gets excited about creating.   Modern-day classics turned into burgers and delicious desserts.

Perhaps pandemic or Brexit forced, it’s great to see kitchens across the country relying more on British produce.  Every cloud, hey?! The ‘Support Local’ movement continues to grow stronger every day, rightly so, and 2022 could see a surge in homegrown produce.   This is a big area we will be focusing on this year, as we look to maintain and enhance our sustainability programme.

Social Drivers

Along with the old classics, Darren sees some taste-bud tantalizers emerging via social media!

TikTok and Instagram are fast becoming trendsetters in the world of food, being major sources of new and easy recipes. It’s contributing to a change in our eating habits with viral videos often sparking sharp demand for certain ingredients and dishes.

For example, there was a recent stampede to the shops for instant coffee to create the Dalgona whipped coffee sensation,  and a Feta cheese frenzy in the aisles to make the viral video version of the Baked Pasta recipe!  Arguably sheep-like behaviour, but what cannot be ignored, and social media will continue to be the catalyst for food creations in 2022.

Seeds of Change

Sunflower seed-based products like peanut butter-alternative SunButter have been popular in school cafeterias for the last decade or so, thanks to an increased awareness of nut and other allergies.

The tiny seed is busting out of schools this year, making its way into crackers, ice cream, cheese, and more. Find them in elevated spreads like nut-free Mother Butter, Fix & Fogg Oaty Nut Butter, and vegan Ben & Jerry's flavours made with sunflower butter, including Creme Brulée Cookie and Mint Chocolate Cookie.

Popcorn has been woven into the fabric of society for the best part of 200 years. But according to recent research, we’re amid a popcorn renaissance!  The recent explosion has been attributed to the increase in the ‘Netflix and Chill’ mindset, courtesy of multiple lockdowns shutting cinemas, but this doesn’t entirely account for the rapid rise in new popcorn-based snack products.

As industry publication Candy & Snack Today explains, popcorn is the perfect low-calorie “canvas” upon which brands can layer other flavour’s, creating a variety of appealing products that are both seasonal (like chocolate mint) and trendy (like hibiscus). Popcorn cake, anyone?

The Jamaican Flower

Jamaican Flower, or Hibiscus sabdariffa, is part of the mallow family, and is used in the production of drinks (wine, liquors, juice), marmalades, infusions, colourings, jams, cookie flour, among others.

High in vitamin C, the colourful shrub is much beloved around the world and has been for centuries. Try it in pink-hued Ruby Hibiscus Water, or in Kassumay fruit spreads - created by Senagalese Bacary Diatta using flowers cultivated in his home country - in flavours like hibiscus mixed with ginger or mango. Our mouths are already watering at the thought of this flavour and Darren was lost for 24 hours following his cocktail practice using Hibiscus!

Nostalgic Ends

Finally, and this is one where we’re the trendsetters, nostalgic desserts will be big this year. Knickerbocker Glory recipe searches on were up 171% this year and Co-op announced jelly sales are up three times higher than pre-lockdown.

Our love of retro desserts such as Sticky Toffee Pudding, Arctic Rolls and Trifle is likely to peak this year.  Expect to be stocking your fridge with ingredients to make sponge cakes and use the flexible shelving to make room for big bowls of wibbly-wobbly jelly!

2022 will be a big year for us at StirrUps.  With our initial launch period now over, we’re settling into the market with our food at the forefront of everything we do.  We will look at new dishes with quirky flavour combinations along with some classic British recipes. Expect to see our food and beverage offering widen and our position within the community strengthen as we continue towards 2023. 

What do you want to see on our menu in 2022? Got any ideas or hankerings, then let us know – we’d be delighted to consider!