Flavor trends: What flavors will come out on top this Christmas?

By Beth Newhart

- Last updated on GMT

Drink premiumization will get more activity this year including more high-quality and sophisticated ingredients. Pic: ©GettyImages/jakkapan21
Drink premiumization will get more activity this year including more high-quality and sophisticated ingredients. Pic: ©GettyImages/jakkapan21

Related tags Christmas Hot chocolate Flavors Coffee

Kerry Taste & Nutrition has unveiled three top flavor trends to watch out for this Christmas.

Christmas in Europe this year will have a lot of dessert-inspired treats, iced drinks, premium ingredients and unexpected flavours, according to Kerry Taste & Nutrition.

Company research revealed 41% of consumers look to discover new products during the holidays, and about 25% will share photos of their drinks on social media. For restaurants, bars, coffee shops and other retailers, it’s key to offer a selection of “great-tasting, visually appealing and on-trend beverages.”

Time to splurge

A universal trend over the holidays is the act of indulgence, and that carries over into beverages. Kerry reports that the majority of UK consumers agree Christmas is a time to treat yourself (72%), and that they seek products that help them unwind and relax (66%).

Kerry's top flavor trends

  1. Indulgence
  2. Festive flavors
  3. Premiumization

The company said consumers have been trending toward natural beverages with clean labels and low sugar contents, but healthy choices tend to take a pause during the holidays. Most European consumers said they find authentic hot chocolate more appealing than healthier, low-calorie alternatives (70%).

Dessert-inspired drinks like peppermint hot chocolate and gingerbread and caramel-flavored coffee beverages will see a spike around the holidays as they usually do, Kerry said.

Drink premiumization will see more activity this year, including more high-quality and sophisticated ingredients, the company added. Nearly half of European consumers consider it a “point of differentiation”​ when choosing a holiday beverage (48%), particularly with hot chocolate, the most popular beverage platform last Christmas.

Kerry predicts the premiumization of hot cocoa will continue growing, “allowing consumers to experience the ‘craft behind the creation’ [and] make beverages more engaging.”

John Kelly, senior marketing manager for beverages at Kerry Taste & Nutrition, said, “The festive season is a great time for people to experiment with beverage choices that evoke feelings of nostalgia and indulgence, and we want to make it easier for our customers to serve delicious drinks that stand out, but are convenient to make.”

Something different emerging this year is alternative festive drinks such as iced drinks, alternatives to coffee and cold brews. Consumers aged 18-24 consider chilled coffee a better option than sugary drinks (66%), possibly leading to an unprecedented rise in premium, indulgent cold drinks for the holidays rather than the traditional hot beverages.

Kerry recommends that menus maintain a mix of classic and alternative beverages for this season, including flavors like peppermint, salted caramel, gingerbread, orange and spiced chai.

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