On the one hand consumers are seeking for exciting taste experiences and are willing to try new flavour combinations, on the other hand, nostalgic, classical tastes are on demand as they symbolise reliability and comfort. In general, strong, nostalgic as well as exotic flavours and "botanicals" will continue to be significant. The challenge for food & beverage companies is to find the balance between novelty and familiarity.
Mood food and drinks lift the spirits
In an increasingly fast-paced age, consumers' desire to slow down is growing stronger. AUSTRIA JUICE has a range of extracts meeting this trend, such as lemon balm extract, elderflower extract as well as matching drink concepts with natural ingredients.
Sour & exotic: anything but boring
Citrus fruits, too, continue to make a big splash in all their variants and, with their sour notes, offer an ideal rounding off of the sweet flavours. Not only citrus flavours offer ultimate refreshment and a less sweet flavour profile, but they also resonate with consumers who are conscious of their immune system. Now it can be original and sparkling: Classics like orange, grapefruit and lemon are joined by pink grapefuit, lime, yuzu, clementine and pomelo. The popularity of sour flavours is also noticeable in the use of sour cherry, which is the most common ingredient with a sour taste next to citrus fruits.
Using citrus as an example, the desire for "exotic" flavours can be seen. For example, 63 percent of global consumers find exotic foods and beverages from around the world appealing. In addition, 74 percent of global consumers say they like products with new, unusual tastes. This "exotic effect" can be achieved, for example, with citrus fruits such as yuzu, calamansi, tamarind, but also with cardamom, bergamot, fig, orange blossom, blood orange, guava or mango, chilli and lime. RTD Premium Cocktails, Mocktails or other mixed drinks are best suited for the "holiday at home"! Source: FMCG Gurus; Setting the right goals for flavour innovation in 2022, Mintel
Spicy & earthy flavours are popular
Herbs, spices, mushrooms and roots with an earthy character are increasingly finding their way into beverage bottles. Think of turmeric, maca, ginseng, green tea leaves, ashwagandha, cinnamon, hemp or cardamom, just to name a few sorts of this category. Fruits such as acai, raspberry, blackcurrant or blackberry are also more often found in drinks. Berry flavours also go in line with the Pantone Color of The Year 2023 Viva Magenta. Overall, foods and beverages that contain vitamins and other functional ingredients associated with the immune system will be more prominent in the future.
Fusion flavours on the rise
Fusion flavours like Spicy Honey have grown 26 per cent in the US market. Last year, "adventurous" flavours were 20 percent more in demand. Latin American flavours in particular are said to be increasingly mixed into product creations such as Horchata and Chica Morada drinks, both of which have seen sales increase by over 45 percent in the past two years. The star of 2023 is said to be Aguas Frescas: The refreshing fruit water creations achieved a 42 per cent increase. Source: "Top Flavour & Ingredient Trends for 2023", tastewise
Intense & nostalgic flavours for all senses
In addition to sour and spicy nuances, this year it is generally also allowed to taste intense. AUSTRIA JUICE observes the trend that beverage bottlers want a strong flavour for their products that is also well suited to clearly distinguish themselves from the competition.
Intense, nostalgic flavours that bring childhood memories back to life will increasingly find a place in beverages in 2023, including strawberry, cherry, apple or grape. Young people, in particular, are now easily inspired by more intense flavours - for example, nostalgic flavours such as chocolate, caramel, cookies or coffee. Such flavours are important for consumers because they convey pleasure and security. According to Mintel, on average in Europe, 86% of consumers say that familiar flavours bring them comfort.
Brown flavours such as caramel, apple pie or cookies and generally flavours reminiscent of childhood days such as bubble gum, candyfloss or popcorn are therefore also popular in beverages.
Classic flavours with a twist
According to Mintel, the ranking of the most popular flavours of beverages in the EU over the past three years is led by the classical flavours apple, orange and lemon, followed by ginger, raspberry, mango, strawberry, chocolate, lime and cola. The fastest growing flavours in the EU, according to Mintel, are Chai, Caramel, Red Berry, Echinacea, Tea and Marshallow. For beverage companies, this means focusing on established and traditional flavours with a twist. The challenge is to find the balance between novelty and familiarity.
AUSTRIA JUICE supports with the broad product portfolio of flavours to find a coherent balance for every kind of beverage. Source: Mintel, GNPD
Transparency and enjoyment with a clear conscience
Overall, it is becoming more important for consumers to enjoy consciously. They want to feel safer in all areas of life and be able to make conscious decisions, which is why the clean label trend continues. In addition to the reduction of ingredients, the focus is on the topic of "free from" or transparency about ingredients.
Plant-based foods - i.e. vegan products - are also gaining in importance. In India, for example, 30 percent of the population already eat a vegetarian diet. In Europe, sales of plant-based foods are expected to grow from 1.5 billion euros to 2.4 billion euros by 2025. Worldwide, sales are forecast to grow to 85 billion US dollars by 2030. Source: "Food & Beverage Trends to watch in 2022 and beyond", Kadence International.
With the ongoing trend towards more conscious consumption at all levels, the trend towards non-alcoholic or reduced-alcohol beverages is also continuing. This means that ready-to-drink mocktails instead of cocktails as well as non-alcoholic spirits are also gaining in popularity.
More natural flavours also in confectionery
A trend towards naturalness and the use of botanicals/herbs such as lavender is also emerging in confectionery. The top flavour launches in chocolate from 2018 to 2021 were hazelnut, caramel, almond, orange and praline, according to Mintel. Hazelnut therefore remains the most popular flavour in chocolate.
In bakery products, chocolate, cocoa and vanilla top the flavour hit list after pure, non-flavoured products. These are followed by butter, milk chocolate, almond, dark chocolate, coconut and lemon. In total volume, vanilla and butter remain the favoured flavours. Chocolate and hazelnut show the greatest growth potential.
Exciting and innovative flavours in confectionery are also not to be missed. AUSTRIA JUICE is developing flavour compositions such as lavender cheesecake, Turkish delight or churchhela, a natural apricot flavour but also apple strudel, Mozartkugel, Sacher Torte as well as baked apple, plum cinnamon, salted caramel with yuzu, cherry or elderflower and many more. Source: Setting the right goals for flavour innovation in 2022, Mintel; Mintel, GNPD.
The topics of health and well-being, the desire for new flavour creations as well as enjoyment with a clear conscience are at the top of consumers' wish lists. Thus, fruits and botanicals associated with the immune system are of great importance. Exotic flavours reminiscent of travelling to distant lands have gained particular popularity during the pandemic. These include citrus fruits in particular, but also spicy and earthy ingredients such as ginger or turmeric, which are slowly becoming mainstream flavours, especially in the premium segment. In general, botanicals such as herbs, flowers, spices or roots will continue to be increasingly found as ingredients and flavour carriers in beverages.
In addition, brown flavours and classic flavours that remind us of childhood days and evoke nostalgic feelings are once again in vogue. Big and bold" flavours with strong notes such as chocolate, caramel or coffee, but also cherry or strawberry are experiencing a great revival.