The role of colors and flavors is highly significant in the development of successful new products as consumers aim to balance tastiness, clean eating, transparency, and a stronger personalized approach to fit their lifestyles.

In the Innova Trends Survey 2019, 74% of global consumers agreed or strongly agreed that they loved to discover new flavors, while 57% thought it was important to consume foods and beverages that were good for their bodies.

As a result, it is perhaps no surprise that functionally flavorful concepts are increasingly focusing on health and natural ingredients. For instance, botanicals are seeing rising levels of interest across many food and beverage categories, with floral flavors particularly in evidence. Although spice/seed, as well as herb flavors, are also gaining rising levels of use. One in two consumers in Innova Market Insights research associated floral flavored drinks with freshness and herbal flavored drinks with healthiness.

As eating green is moving mainstream, brands are also ‘greening up’ their portfolios in order to attract the growing health-minded consumer group. This has seen ‘earthy’ flavors spread across the industry with ingredients such as matcha, seaweed, and mushroom. On the other hand, bitter flavors are also on trend as consumers seek to reduce sugar intake and increase consumption of green vegetables.

Flavors such as spinach, kale, celery, and Brussels sprouts are increasingly in evidence across a whole range of food and beverage launches. Bitter-toned beverages are also on trend, with gins particularly popular over the past few years, and now seeing further differentiation via a growing variation in flavors, colors and formats.

The search for something new, different and exciting is also driving flavor developments in food and beverages. Adventurous and reimagined options are sought by trend-conscious consumers, who also enjoy an element of surprise on their plates and palates.
Consumers are on a large-scale, broad journey of discovery, moving out of their comfort zones to explore new food and beverage experiences, with flavor playing a major part in this.

This is illustrated by the fact that six out of ten US and UK respondents in an Innova Market Insights survey agreed with a statement that they love to discover flavors of other cultures, although there is also ongoing activity in products of more local origin, with local ingredients and local recipes.

Brands are also increasingly launching mystery flavors, as well as reinventing classics with novel twists, alongside developing new and more unusual flavors and combinations.
With more focus on the beauty of food, often inspired by, celebrity chefs, food bloggers, and influencers, there is also a growing role for more colorful food and beverage products. Companies can also use colorful online marketing strategies to inspire interest. Apart from bright or unusual colors, including those not normally associated with that product, some color-changing options are also being introduced.

While Innova Market Insights research indicates that the top color for food and beverage launches featuring colorings in both North America and Europe were red and brown, the fastest growing options over the 2014 to 2018 period were red and yellow in North America, but orange and purple in Europe.