Imbibe, an industry-leading beverage development company focused on formulating and commercializing cutting-edge products, announced the its mid-year flavor trend analysis. The most popular flavors right now are associated with better-for-you ingredients, provide an enhanced sensory experience, and/or have added function. Here are the most pervasive flavor trends in food and beverage:
• True to Fruit – True to fruit flavors are common in food and beverage, but top flavors vary based on current trends. A survey of industry professionals by BNP Media suggested that grapefruit, apple, coconut, ginger, orange, lemon, and mango will be top selling flavors this year. Additionally, clementine and yuzu have grown 60% or more as soda flavors on menus over the last year according to Datassential. Imbibe expects to see these flavors in RTDs over the next year.
• Culinary Inspired – Culinary inspired flavors offer a more complex flavor profile that position a product as more premium. They feature exotic ingredients, sophisticated combinations, or call out the preparation method. Examples on the market now include Evolve Toasted Almond Protein Shake and Starbucks Molten Chocolate Latte.
• Indulgent – Indulgent flavors inspired by sweet treats are popular year-round. These flavor profiles are especially popular in food service and sports nutrition products. Cookie dough, caramel, cookies and cream, chocolate, marshmallow, and peanut butter are some of the most popular indulgent flavors on menus and in beverages. Many nostalgic flavors also fit into the indulgent, including ones inspired by classic desserts, candy, cereal and historically popular sodas.
• Earthy – Consumers have embraced earthy flavors that ingredients like matcha, turmeric, ginger, and mushrooms impart. Many of these ingredients are as functional as they are flavorful, which has contributed to their success. Ginger was the top searched earthy flavor according to the 2017 Google Beverage Trends Report, and top flavor associations with ginger in the US by volume of searches were blackberry, lemon, honey and turmeric. Matcha was the second most popular earthy flavor searched, and has experienced 202% growth YOY.
• Veg-centric – Consumer demand for better-for-you options has contributed to the growth of veg-centric profiles that we see in juices, kombuchas, drinking vinegars, and drinkable soups. These products often contain veggies we don't typically see in beverages, such as red pepper, kale and lentils.
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