The US beverage development company has picked out five of the ‘most pervasive flavor trends’ across food and beverage (in no particular order), noting the most popular flavors are associated with better-for-you ingredients, an enhanced sensory experience, or functional attributes.
1. True to fruit
Fruit flavors are a constant in food and beverage, but different fruits vary in popularity.
Grapefruit, apple, coconut, ginger, orange, lemon and mango are all expected to be top selling flavors in 2018, particularly in RTD drinks.
More unusual fruits like clementine and yuzu have also seen growth up to 60% as flavors in brands like Izze and San Pellegrino.
2. Culinary inspired
‘Premium’ is all the rage, from experiences to flavors and ingredients.
Consumers are responding to combinations that are exotic and sophisticated, offering a unique drinking or dining experience.
The preparation process is heavily emphasized in culinary-inspired items, like the new Starbucks Molten Chocolate latte.
A rise in nostalgic and indulgent flavors has resulted in sweet products flooding the industry. Over-the-top milkshakes, smoothies and sundaes trend on social media with classic flavors like cookie dough, caramel, cookies and cream, chocolate, marshmallow and peanut butter.
More non-dairy, gluten-free and low-sugar varieties of sweet treats are also hitting the market, giving consumers the option to still indulge within a range of dietary restrictions.
Functional beverages pull double duty on flavor and performance, with varieties like matcha, ginger, turmeric and mushroom gaining popularity.
The 2017 Google Beverage Trends Report revealed the most searched earthy flavor to be ginger, and other flavors most associated with it have been blackberry, lemon, honey and turmeric.
Matcha is cropping up in RTD beverages, hot beverages, desserts and other snacks with a 202% year-over-year growth.
Consumers are finding a good balance between their indulgent choices and healthy, better-for-you options. More juices, kombuchas, drinking vinegars and drinkable soups are emerging and are full of vegetables like kale, lentils and red pepper.
‘Clean label’ brands have found an audience with consumers looking for total transparency with their food and drink in everything from green juices to protein bars.
All pictures: Getty