New consumer research from Kerry reveals that botanical extracts generate several emotions with consumers—including energy, excitement, creativity and fun.  The research, which uncovers the psychology behind botanical preferences and the perceived benefits consumers derive from consuming botanical food and beverages, examined 44 emotions that consumers associate with botanical extracts. 

Botanicals have been used for centuries and are now widely used in a variety of emerging and nostalgic foods and beverages, with a 46% increase in beverages containing botanical extracts between 2017 and last year. The global market for botanical beverages and foods is expected to reach USD 1,489.3bn by 2025*. 

There is a wide range of flavors and ingredients that are associated with botanicals including herbs (e.g. mint, rosemary and thyme), roots and barks (turmeric, cinnamon and ginger), plants and trees (e.g. aloevera, coconut tree) and flowers (e.g. rose, chamomile and hibiscus). 

Kerry surveyed more than 6,500 consumers across 12 countries in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific and Africa to discover attitudes towards over 55 botanicals. 

The research shows that botanical flavors connect with consumers on a highly positive level, beyond flavor and taste. Consumers also think about botanicals as being energetic, interesting, useful, trustworthy and safe. For example, a beverage with guarana, ginseng and ginger can carry a similar connotation of “energy” as a coffee or energy drink would to the consumer. Meanwhile, ingredients such as saffron, bergamot and honey are considered premium. 

“The link between taste and emotions is widely accepted by experts,” notes Leigh-Anne Vaughan, global taste marketing director. “Botanical flavors connect with consumers at a very positive level, beyond flavor and taste, and our research shows that these flavors appeal to over 97% of consumers globally. Negative emotions such as repulsive, boring, disappointing were the least suggestive of botanicals.”

The research uncovered emotions associated with 55 botanicals and their corresponding perceived health benefits and highlight the resulting opportunities for innovative product development.

“In a very busy marketplace, brands are constantly attempting to stand out and interestingly 87% of consumers say that botanicals provide a unique taste experience. Meanwhile, according to Innova research, the use of botanicals in front of pack will result in a 23% price premium. Formulating with botanicals can certainly win consumer hearts, especially by using top appealing flavors such as mint, honey and cinnamon,” adds Vaughn. “Manufacturers should emphasize the link between botanical flavor, their corresponding emotions and health benefits they evoke to create flavors that meet consumers’ daypart and occasion needs. These insights can be leveraged to connect with consumers to deliver a stronger taste experience in food and beverages and aid in product development.”

Kerry has long-standing expertise in sourcing and processing botanicals over the world, with a portfolio of more than 120 from tinctures, infusions, distillates and extracts to deliver various aromatic profiles and blends.  

Download the new report.

About Kerry

Kerry, the world’s leading taste and nutrition company, provides sustainable nutrition solutions for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. Every day over one billion people around the world enjoy food and beverages containing Kerry’s taste and nutrition solutions. The company has offices in 31 countries, 149 manufacturing facilities and employs 26,000 people globally, including over 1,000 food scientists. We aim to be our customers’ most valued partner by delivering food and beverage products that meet their consumers’ individual taste, nutrition and wellness preferences, while enhancing their lives and contributing to a more sustainable world

Research methodology

Conducted in 2021, Kerry surveyed over 6,500 consumers across 12 countries in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific and Africa employing a quantitative survey methodology. Additional social media analysis and qualitative exploration corroborate the quantitative findings. The respondents were primary shoppers who were prioritized flavours at various degrees when purchasing food and beverages from the store. Over 55 botanical flavors were tested in relation to their appeal, preference across 22 food and beverages, associations with 16 health benefits and 44 emotions were evaluated. 

* Figures from Zion Research.