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Flavour Trends 2022: What tastes best now!


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The effects of Covid-19 are also influencing this year’s flavour trends, with flavours and fruits associated with health and immunity extremely popular – but strong and exotic flavours as well as botanicals will also be significant in 2022. 

The pandemic has changed many people’s values and accelerated a trend already apparent for several years: health and well-being are more important today.

Sour & exotic: anything but boring

Citrus fruits are continuing to make it big in all varieties and their sour notes top off sweet flavours perfectly. Not only are citrus flavours the ultimate refreshment with a less sweet flavour profile, they also resonate with consumers who want to boost their immune system with healthy food and drink. Original and sparkling drinks are now trending, with classics like orange, grapefruit and lemon joined by pink grapefruit, lime, yuzu, clementine and pomelo. The popularity of sour flavours can also be seen in the use of sour cherry, which is the most common sour-flavoured ingredient alongside citrus fruits.

Taking citrus fruits as an example, people’s desire for “exotic” flavours has also been apparent since 2020, when the possibility of travel to faraway countries was very limited. For instance, 63 per cent 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 and other mixed drinks are best suited for “staycations!"
Sources: 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 drink bottles. Consider turmeric, maca, ginseng, green tea leaves, ashwagandha, cinnamon, hemp and cardamom: many recipes with earthy flavours use ingredients commonly found in recipes already popular in ancient China.

Overall, 74% of global launches of shots in the past three years have contained spicy flavours, with ginger and turmeric being the most common. But ginseng is also proving to be a popular ingredient. According to Mintel, for example, 70% of consumers in China say ginseng as a herbal ingredient can help improve their immune system.
Source:  Mintel, GNPD; “Flavour exploration beyond convention in juice”, Julia Buech, Mintel, March 2021


So-called “superfruits” such as acai, raspberry, blackcurrant and blackberry will be found more often in drinks, too. Blackcurrant is also an ideal base colour for trendy drink creations, which are based on the current Pantone Color of the Year 2022.

Foods with botanicals are becoming more and more mainstream, especially in the premium sector. Popular combinations of botanicals include strawberry-lavender-rosemary-tulsi, mango-turmeric-ginger-guayusa, raspberry-mint-white-peony tea, apple-lemon-cayenne-yerba mate and peach-hibiscus-jasmine-green tea.
Source: “Food & Beverage Trends to watch in 2022 and beyond,” Kadence International

All in all, foods and beverages containing vitamins and other functional ingredients associated with a stronger immune system will be more prominent in the future.

Intense & nostalgic flavours for all our senses

Besides sour and spicy hints, intense flavours are also trending high this year. AUSTRIA JUICE has found that bottling companies generally want a strong flavour for their products, which can clearly distinguish them from the competition.

In particular, intense, nostalgic flavours which resurrect childhood memories will increasingly find a place in drinks in 2022, including watermelon, strawberry, cherry, apple and grape. Young people in particular are now easily attracted to more intense flavours – including nostalgic flavours such as chocolate, caramel, cookies and coffee. Such flavours are important to consumers because they convey pleasure and security. According to Mintel, an average of 86% of consumers in Europe say familiar flavours give them a sense of comfort.

Brown flavours such as caramel, apple pie and cookies and generally flavours reminiscent of childhood days like bubble gum, candy floss and popcorn are therefore also popular in beverages. A full 84 per cent of global consumers say they like traditional flavours in food and beverages, according to FMCG Gurus, and two-thirds of global consumers enjoy things that remind them of the past, according to Mintel!
It’s not for nothing that homemade-style variations of simple, natural and creative drinks are back in fashion!
Source: Attitudes towards Flavours in Food" - Europe – 2021, Mintel; FMCG Gurus

Classic flavours with a twist

Mintel says the EU-wide ranking of the most popular drink flavours over the past three years is topped by the classic 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 berries, echinacea, tea and marshmallow. For beverage companies, this means focusing on established and traditional flavours with a twist. The challenge is striking the balance between novelty and familiarity. AUSTRIA JUICE is supporting this with its broad range of flavours to find the right coherent balance for every kind of beverage.
Source: Mintel, GNPD


Transparency and enjoyment with a clear conscience

All in all, it is becoming more important for consumers to enjoy produces with a “clear” conscience. They want to feel safer in all areas of life and be able to make conscious decisions, which is why the clean label trend is still ongoing. In addition to the ingredients, transparency about the ingredients, such as origin, production and the entire supply chain, is crucial.

As such, plant-based foods – i.e. vegan products – are also gaining importance. In India, for instance, 30 per cent of the population already eats a vegetarian diet, while sales of plant-based foods in Europe are expected to grow from €1.5 billion to €2.4 billion by 2025. Worldwide, sales are forecast to grow to $85 billion by 2030.
Source: “Food & Beverage Trends to watch in 2022 and beyond,” Kadence International

Along with increasingly conscious consumption at all levels, the trend towards non-alcoholic or reduced-alcohol beverages is also continuing. This means ready-to-drink mocktails instead of cocktails as well as non-alcoholic spirits are also gaining popularity.

More natural flavours, even in confectionery

A trend towards natural products and the use of botanicals/herbs such as lavender is also emerging in confectionery. Hemp & CBD are also a hot topic in this segment. According to Mintel, the top chocolate flavours from 2018 to 2021 were hazelnut, caramel, almond, orange and praline, meaning hazelnut remains the most popular flavour of chocolate.
In baked goods, after pure, non-flavoured products, chocolate, cocoa and vanilla top the flavour hit list. These are followed by butter, milk chocolate, almond, dark chocolate, coconut and lemon. In terms of total volume, vanilla and butter are still people’s favourite flavours. Chocolate and hazelnut show the biggest growth potential.

Some exciting confectionery flavour compositions that were developed by AUSTRIA JUICE include lavender cheesecake, Turkish delight and churchkela, a natural apricot flavour but also apple strudel, Mozartkugel, Sacher Torte as well as baked apple, plum cinnamon, salted caramel with yuzu, cherry and elderflower and many more.
Source: Setting the right goals for flavour innovation in 2022, Mintel; Mintel, GNPD


The issues of health and well-being, the desire for new flavour creations and enjoyment with a clear conscience are at the top of consumers’ wish lists. This means fruit and botanicals associated with a stronger immune system are of great importance. Exotic flavours reminiscent of travelling to distant lands have become particularly popular during the pandemic. These include citrus fruits in particular, but also spicy and earthy ingredients such as ginger and turmeric, which are slowly becoming mainstream flavours, especially in the premium segment. In general, botanicals such as herbs, flowers, spices and roots will continue to be increasingly popular as ingredients and flavour carriers in beverages.

In addition, brown flavours and classic flavours which are reminiscent of childhood days and evoke nostalgic feelings are once again in vogue. Big and bold flavours with strong notes such as chocolate, caramel and coffee, but also cherry and strawberry, are making a big comeback.


Julia Wurzer

Julia WurzerAuthor

Marketing Manager

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