Flavor Mashups For New Sensory Experiences in Food and Beverages

Hybrid flavor innovation is increasingly being used to deliver new sensory experiences for progressively adventurous consumers, offering food and beverages that can broaden the dimensions of indulgence.

As a result, Flavor Mashups has emerged as the first of Innova Market Insights’ Top Ten Flavor Trends for 2021. Other important trends include the updating and reimagining of traditional and regional flavors, interest in immune-boosting options, the shift of foodservice favorites into the home and the ongoing popularity of citrus.

Innova Market Insights Top Five Flavor Trends for 2021 are:

1. Flavor Mashups

Innovation in hybrid flavors is gathering pace as consumers favor food and beverages that broaden the dimensions of indulgence. According to the Innova Flavor Survey 2021, one in three consumers globally agreed that interesting/exotic combinations influenced their flavor choices in food and beverages. Innovations can feature in areas such as cross-category mashups, hybrids within beverages and sweet and savory combinations.

2. Modern Nostalgia

While global trends get a local makeover, regional stalwarts are also being brought into modern relevance, and flavors are being reimagined with the use of exotic ingredients in familiar products. One in two consumers globally say that they put more trust into a new brand if it collaborates with one that they already know (Innova Consumer Survey 2020). This trend is reflected in the rise in modern twists on existing products, playing off familiar tastes with cross-category innovation.

3. In Tune with Immune

Immunity and health are top of mind for consumers, and ongoing anxiety over COVID-19 will continue to be a key focus for 2021. Immunity-boosting ingredients will play a significant role in the coming year. Fruity flavors appear particularly important since one in three consumers globally say that they would choose orchard flavors when wanting to boost their immunity. Blends of fruity flavors with exotic and indulgent ingredients are typically used to promote immune benefits.

4. New Omnichannel Eating

Foodservice is proving significant as a channel for flavor innovations. Consumers can now directly access many specialty flavors that were previously only accessible via foodservice. Thirty-one percent of consumers globally say that they get flavor inspiration from restaurants, cafes, canteens, food stalls, etc., increasingly bringing restaurant-style dining experiences into their own homes.

5. Citrus Flavors Reign

Citrus flavors pair well with the fast-growing use of immune health positionings and other well-being related claims. The top reason for consumers choosing citrus flavors is for refreshment (44%), but immunity boosting is close behind with 40%. Different citrus flavors are also coming to the fore, with clementine the fastest-growing citrus variant for food and beverage launches over the 2016 to 2020 period.

The other top trends identified by Innova Market Insights are:
6. Sophisticated Brown Flavors
7. Travelling Through My Food
8. Spice Up Plant Flavors
9. Flavorful Fermentation
10. Age of the Influencer

More inspiration

From flavors to packaging, category trends to consumer behavior. We drill down into inspiring and intriguing cases to reveal what’s happening, why, and the implications for the sector.

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