While there’s no true crystal ball when it comes to which flavors, cuisines and spices people will be drawn to, McCormick’s annual Flavor Forecast comes very close. Now in its 14th year, the well-known Flavor Forecast was the focus of a NACUFS session at the National Conference last week in Baltimore.

McCormick, a Baltimore company for more than a century, had the home-court advantage, and McCormick Chef Gabby Quintana began the session with an ode to Old Bay, the fabled New England seasoning that gives flavor to many seafood dishes and even ice cream.

“We make Maryland taste like Old Bay,” Quintana said, adding that McCormick is celebrating 125 years of creating flavors. In recent years, the company has tried its hand at predicting the future: the future of our tastes. Every year, a team of chefs/researchers/trendspotters travel the world in search of the newest tastes and experiences. They embark on ‘trend safaris’ that encompass everything from fashion to cars to technology. They’ve hit the nail on the head with trends like coconut water, hibiscus and chipotle pepper in the past.

“What we eat is a reflection of what’s happening in the world around us,” Quintana said, mentioning the effect of the economic landscape on what we eat. “In 2007, when we planned for the 2008 forecast, we were still riding the bubble. Vanilla and cardamom, one of our most expensive spices, was one of the pairings. Things were super-premium.”

Finally, in 2012, the forecast became much more global, and the forecasts have continued in that direction, with flavors getting more and more exciting each year. Here are some of the predictions, that, based on McCormick’s track record, will probably be good bets for onsite food trends:

Spotlight on Brazil: The 2014 Flavor Forecast ventures into the flavors and staple ingredients of Brazil, which was recently the focus of the world during the World Cup. Guava, a tropical fruit with a sweet-yet-mysterious taste, can be enjoyed as a nectar or paste. Tempero Baiano, described by Quintana as ‘Brazil’s Old Bay,’ is a Bahian spice blend used to season just about everything. It consists of oregano, parsley, varieties of pepper and cumin. Another staple is cassava, also known as manioc or tapioca flour. It’s gluten-free. And black-eyed peas are a favorite bean of Brazil.