Beverage flavor trends: Citrus is the superstar of summer

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Citrus

Citrus is trending strongly this year in beverages: benefiting from its refreshing character but also receiving a big boost from its association with immunity.

While already a perennial favorite, the pandemic has given the flavor a particular boost, according to Kerry’s ‘Art of Taste: A complete analysis of in-market summer beverages 2021’ report, which covers foodservice in Europe and Russia. The report found that 13% of all limited time offerings in Europe in summer 2021 have been citrus-based: focusing around the flavors of lemon, lime, orange and pink grapefruit.

Tapping into the health and wellness trend, citrus flavours not only offer the ultimate in refreshment during hotter months, but also benefit from their association with healthy, immune-boosting properties,"​ notes Kerry. "Food and beverage products linked to immunity have been increasingly popular with consumers in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.” 

In 2022, citrus is likely to remain in the limelight but evolve with new ideas.

“Blood orange and grapefruit are poised to become more mainstream in the future both tapping into the health and wellness trend," ​notes Kerry.

“Blood oranges are high in vitamin C and can be perceived as a healthy ingredient, which is an important factor for consumers of summer beverages. They provide unbeatable flavor and color and can upgrade any refreshing beverage option.”

Blood orange is gaining traction online in social media mentions: while it is among the fastest growing citrus flavors in new food and beverage launches. Common pairing suggestions include blood orange with grapefruit, caramel and zest.

Grapefruit shows an equally strong trajectory. “Grapefruits are perceived as a healthy and refreshing ingredients, popular in iced beverages as well as in alcoholic beverages thanks to their tart and slightly bitter flavor.”

Flavor combinations include grapefruit with tea or iced tea.  

Other flavors to watch

Other fruit flavors are also proving popular, with strawberry and mango taking the top flavor spots in limited time offerings. Strawberry is a particular classic, having been in the top 3 of Kerry’s rankings during 2019 and 2020 as well as this summer.

“Strawberry and mango had strong performance as preferred flavours for summer limited time offerings in popular iced teas and lemonade platforms, as well as in the addition of real fruit pieces and flavours in coffees. Additionally, using seasonal fruits at their freshest adds a premium touch.”

Also of note is caramel: tapping into a desire for luxury and comfort after restrictions and lockdowns.

“Following the months of uncertainty brought on by Covid-19, consumers are looking for comfort and indulgence and LTOs, particularly decadent blended ice style beverages, tap into this by providing a treat to inject fun and excitement into consumers’ days.”  

Related topics Ingredients

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