Flavor supplier T. Hasegawa USA, Inc. knows that the robust dairy category needs to remain innovative to keep pace with other categories. That’s why the company researched dairy sector trends and developed an exclusive Dairy Flavors Flash Report. 

Here are five on-trend findings for food formulators to consider.

1.    Although dairy-alternatives are growing, most consumers are still dairy exclusive. The dairy-alternative category has blossomed in recent years, with a boom in product development and flavor innovation, but it still pales in comparison to the traditional dairy milk market. More than half of consumers in a June 2021 Mintel survey said they exclusively consumed traditional dairy products. Only 7% of survey participants were exclusive to dairy alternatives. 

2.    Younger consumers are driving demand for spicy cheese and other dairy products. According to Mintel data, cheeses with high heat chili flavors, such as Chipotle, harissa, serrano, ancho and green chili are trending on menus from 2018-2018. This indicates a prime opportunity to attract the attention of Gen Z consumers, since 36% of Gen Z consumers in a recent study shared interest in spicy-flavored dairy products and menu items. 

3.    Alcohol flavors bring fun and sophistication to cheese. The incidence of wine-flavored cheese product launches increased drastically from 2017-2020, while beer-flavored dairy ingredients on menus increased 69% from 2018-2021, according to Mintel Purchase Intelligence. 

4.    Coffee creamer flavors created indulgent “at-home” treats during the pandemic. A desire for familiar, comforting flavors during the pandemic – in fact, 29% of Millennials made specialty coffee drinks at home in 2020, leading to growth in innovative creamer flavors and “Barista blend” plant-based non-dairy creamers – all of which aimed at providing specialty coffee experiences at home. Co-branded coffee creamers in particular are trending as consumers turn their everyday coffee into an indulgent treat. 

5.    The rise of “Dual Dairy” consumers. According to a Mintel survey, 38% of participants said that they consumed both dairy and dairy-alternative products. As dairy alternatives become mainstream, the dairy industry must prepare for a future in which most households purchase at least some non-dairy products. 

Flavor innovation is the key to excitement in traditional dairy categories. After a spike in dairy product sales during the last 18 months, sales are normalizing to pre-pandemic levels. The key to driving sales in a largely stagnant, mature category is flavor innovation – which can bring excitement to the dairy category and keep consumers engaged. 

About T. Hasegawa USA, Inc.
For more than a century, T. Hasegawa has made ‘Life Taste Better’ through custom flavors and fragrances developed for the world’s top food and beverage brands. T. Hasegawa is recognized around the world for its innovation and product differentiation, which builds our clients’ product flavor to unparalleled standards. Through a passion for culinary creation and a strong faith in the power of aroma and taste, T. Hasegawa’s flavor experts work to improve the way we experience food and beverages.